Monday, May 21, 2012


Most of us associate the month of May with Mary.  But, in traditional Chamorro culture, May is also the month of the Santa Cruz (Spanish), Såntos Kilu'us (Chamorro) or the Holy Cross.

Why May?

Prior to Vatican II, there were two feasts of the Holy Cross in the church calendar.  May 3rd was the feast of the Finding of the Cross, when, according to tradition, the Empress Helena searched for and found the cross upon which Jesus died, buried in Jerusalem.  The second feast of the Holy Cross was September 14, called the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which commemorated the rescue of the True Cross from the hands of the Persians.  After Vatican II, May 3rd was eliminated and only September 14 remains on the calendar.

But traditions are traditions and many Chamorro families carry on the May devotion to the Holy Cross.

Tan Lourdes Crisostomo English of Sinajaña keeps this tradition.  The wooden cross venerated here was carved by her grandfather about 100 years ago.

The Spanish-speaking world also keeps the May tradition, where it is called the Cruz de Mayo.


  1. My grandmother, Delfina Castro Delgado, also from Sinajana has a Santa Cruz cross that she had used or her mother had used for this occasion. I'm not sure how old the cross is, however although it had aged and been a bit damaged over time, our family still has it.

  2. I knew your grandmother and your uncle Jude. Your grandmother used to do some sewing for me (school play costumes) in the 70s. It would be great to be able to take a photo of your family cross.