Sta. Cruz Day in the Philippines Date in the current year: May 3, 2024

Sta. Cruz Day in the Philippines Sta. Cruz Day (Araw ng Sta. Cruz), also known as Santa Cruz Day, is a special working holiday in the municipality of Santa Cruz in the Philippine province of Maridunque. It is celebrated annually on May 3.

Santa Cruz is a first-class municipality in Maridunque, a small island province of the Philippines. Prior to the arrival of the Spaniards, the island was presumably part of the Kingdom of Luzon, since it was immediately claimed by Spain after the fall of Manila in 1570. The first Augustinian priest to introduce Christianity to the island, Friar Pedro de Herrera, arrived in Maridunque in 1571.

Santa Cruz was originally named Napo, but when Spanish missionaries of the Franciscan Order built a church here in the late 16th century, they named it San Juan de Maridunque. The church was a visita (chapel-of-ease), i.e. a church within the boundaries of a parish that had no rectory for a priest. The parish priest based in the nearby Boac would visit the church occasionally to evangelize and perform sacraments.

At some point, the Franciscans withdrew from the island because they did not have enough priests for their mission. The Jesuits took over in the 17th century and renamed the settlement Sta. Cruz de Napo or simply Sta. Cruz. The Spanish colonial church in Sta. Cruz was build in 1714, and the settlement officially became a town in 1790.

Today, Sta. Cruz is the largest of all six municipalities in Maridunque in terms of land area and the second most populous and important municipality in the province after the provincial capital of Boac.

Santa Cruz Day is a special working holiday in the municipality established by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2019. Its date, May 3, was chosen to commemorate Sta. Cruz’s founding anniversary. It also coincides with the old date of the Feast of the Finding of the Holy Cross, which is not surprising since the municipality was named after the True Cross (Santa Cruz is Spanish for Holy Cross).

The Feast of the Finding of the Holy Cross commemorates the finding of the True Cross by Saint Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. According to Christian tradition, she discovered the True Cross in Jerusalem in 326, and her son ordered the construction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on the site of discovery.

Prior to the 1960 revision of the General Roman Calendar, the Finding of the Holy Cross was celebrated on May 3. In 1960, Pope John XXIII combined it with the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, observed on September 14. However, some regions continue to celebrate the Finding of the Holy Cross on May 3. In the Philippines, for example, its celebration has evolved into the Santacruzan, a ritual pageant held as part of the Flores de Mayo festival devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Sta. Cruz Day is celebrated annually with a series of various religious, cultural, and civic activities organized by the municipal government and other relevant parties. Since it is a working holiday, employees are not entitled to a paid day off.

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Sta. Cruz Day in the Philippines, Santa Cruz Day, holidays in the Philippines, municipal holidays, special working holiday