May: Daily, daily, sing to Mary

We are nearing the end of May, the month Holy Mother Church dedicates to the Blessed Virgin. By a strange calendrical juxtaposition, in whose arrangement Pope Pius XII was central, May begins with a feast of Saint Joseph and ends with a feast of the Blessed Virgin. Of course, the impact of this arrangement (read: ancient feasts unhinged from their ancient feast days) continues to elicit profound lamentation from many Traditional quarters, which we shall not touch here.

The Virgin with Angels (fragment)
Regina Angelorum (fragment) | William-Adolphe Bouguereau | 1900

May in the Philippines is fiesta season. It is the time of the santacruzan and the flores de mayo. The former is a popular activity rooted originally in the devotion to the Holy Cross, a mystery play depicting the finding of the True Cross by Saint Helena. The latter is a month-long activity practiced throughout the archipelago, wherein Catholics gather in church in the afternoon to offer flowers to the Blessed Virgin and to sing hymns in her honour. Over time, the pageantry associated with the mystery play (santacruzan) and the Marian devotion (flores de mayo) became conflated, that many Filipinos nowadays find it difficult to separate one from the other.

But allow us to digress now.

Flores de mayo
Flores de mayo | Arturo Montero y Calvo | 1884

The Marian dedication of May is reason enough to devote parts of our choral repertoire to the Blessed Virgin. The Philippines celebrates many Marian feasts in May, and for each title, there exist already two or three hymns especially associated with it. It is a relief, therefore, that there are also Marian hymns that speak of no particular title or patronage, which we can elect to sing any Sunday or weekday at Mass. We now present a Marian hymn that once was widespread in its many vernacular translations in the archipelago.

Daily, daily, sing to Mary

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