|In 326 A.D., Roman Emporor Constantine felt uneasy while entering into battle with his men. He looked above him and saw the words "In Hoc Signo Vinces" (With this sign, you'll be victorious) written in the sky. Later, an angel appeared to him and requested that he fight in the name of the cross in order to defeat his enemy. Due to his faith in the sign of the cross, he and his men saved the Roman Empire from invaders. He then became the first Christian Emporor of Rome.
At the age of 80, his mother the Empress Helena (also known as Reyna Elena), inspired the vision and victory of her son, went on a pilgrimmage to the Holy Land in search of the true Cross of Jesus. The Santacruzan is a way of paying tribute to Santa Elena (St. Helena) for her triumph in finding the Holy Cross.
It is in this light that Reyna Elena has come to be predominantly recognized in the Santacruzan Festival. Many Reynas (Queens) are also recognized in the Santacruzan procession whom personify the virtues and cardinal virtues including: Fe (Faith), Esperanza (Hope), Caridad (Charity), Justicia (Mirror of Justice), Sentenciada (Symbol of the Innocents), and Aboganda (Defender of the Poor and Oppressed). The characters of the Old and New Testament are also acknowledged in the procession: Sheba, Judith, Ester, Mora (converted from the Muslim faith), Samaritana (whom Jesus spoke to at the well), and Veronica. In addition, the names that were bestowed upon Mary, the mother of Jesus, were also made into Reynas: Reyna de las Flores, Reyna de las Estrellas, Reyna de las Virgines, Reyna de las Cielo (Queen of Heaven), Reyna Paz (Queen of Peace), and Rosa Mystica (Mystical rose). The royal parade of young beautiful women is another example of the Philippine Islands' love for religion and ceremony.