The Santacruzan is an interesting parade held every May in the Philippines. Little girls and young ladies participate to be queens and sagalas. They all dress up in their best formal gowns, have their hair coiffed and faces made up. Oh yes, many mothers have delighted over the fact that the flower girl dress a daughter is supposed to wear only once fits very nicely into the whole scheme of things. The girls walk around the community with their escorts also dressed to the 9s in men's Filipino formal dress, the Barong Tagalog.
It used to have a religious feel with all the Biblical characters portrayed in it. After all, as the name implies, it was supposed to commemorate how Helene, the mother of Constantine the Great, looked for the cross Jesus was crucified in and allegedly found it. As far as I can remember, the Santacruzan was a religious procession. Young ladies were supposed to represent religious characters, but some of the ladies' titles stump me and do not seem religious at all. (For example, there is always a Reyna delas Flores among the Queens. Does "Queen of the Flowers" ring any religious bell? I don't think so.) A statue or two of the Queen Mary is also rolled along with the procession while devotees pray the rosary.
Nonetheless, religious or not, the community participation needed to organize the young people and walk about in their formal best is a nice gesture. Religious or not, you can give credit to the community togetherness during such occassions.
In the US, the Santacruzan is also held by Filipino communities. I surfed around and found that one will be held in Jersey City on May 29, 2009. In an older article last year, I learned that Milpitas, California also has its own Santacruzan for the Filipino community.
If your community in the US is having its own Santacruzan and your daughter has been invited to be one of the Sagalas, you may want to check out our line of tasteful and elegant formal dresses that are appropriate for young girls in such events.