Santacruzan Procession and Street Fair Celebrates Filipino Culture

From a Mass and procession that honors Mother Mary to a street fair with exciting vendors and performers, the upcoming Santacruzan celebration in Jersey City, a Filipino tradition, has it all.

While the street fair on Second Street kicks off at 10 am and runs until 8 pm, from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm, all the focus is on the 34th annual Santacruzan Mass at St. Mary’s Church, located at Second and Erie streets, which kicks off the Santacruzan procession.

The procession features the traditional celebration of the Santacruzan with the Hermanos and Hermanas Mayores, the Reynas and Sagalas (mostly local Filipinos being honored by the community) and takes place in several parts including telling the story of how the Philippines became a Christian nation, honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary and honoring the Relic of the Cross.

While the anchor of the event may be a Filipino Catholic tradition, organizer Joey Mayo said the event is for Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike.

“It’s wonderful to share this event with non-Filipinos,” he said. “All of Manila Avenue is going to be a big feast day – almost every home on Manila Avenue is Filipino and everyone is really looking forward to the day. They’re gearing up and you can see banners and flags hung everywhere.”

Mayo said he expects crowds of up to 5,000 – double last year’s turnout – thanks to support from major sponsors like The Filipino Channel (TFC) and The Asian Journal. TFC, he noted, is even sending Gelo, host of TFC show “Barangay USA” to the event. Also, JR Lavarro and Monet Rivera of “Adobo Nation TFC” will serve as emcees during performances.

The fair will feature 60 vendors, including local Filipino businesses, restaurants and nonprofits. Bands performing include Sustain, Superproxy, Alkathrash, Soundreply Band, Qwadra and Ripcord. There will also be other musical performers like M, Shanice Aquino, Joshua Vila, Lisa Villamaria, Michael Christian, Koba Sounds and Jane Flores. There will also be dance performances by A-Class Dance Crew and NBK.

“We created the street fair six years ago just to provide something for the Filipino community,” said Mayo, who pointed out the large Filipino populations of Jersey City neighborhoods like Manila Avenue in Downtown JC and in West Side.

Mayo added that the fair will expand this year to span two blocks on Second Street between Marin Boulevard and Erie Street, with Manila Avenue in between. Performances will be from 12 to 2:30 pm and 5:30 pm to 8 pm with a break for the Santacruzan procession.

The events take place May 27. For more information, visit PACCAL.org.

Summer Dawn Hortillosa

is a freelance arts and entertainment writer whose work has appeared in the Jersey City Independent, The Jersey Journal, the International and other publications. She is also a creative writer and theatrical director.