Cruces de Mayo…May Crosses What’s it all about?

 

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It’s one of those lovely days for me today. It’s one of those many days  when I remember why I chose Spain, a long time ago, as the place where I most  wanted to be.

This Festival of May Crosses is a particularly lovely ‘fiesta’.

Cruz = Cross …. Cruces =Crosses   Mayo = May 

Cruces de Mayo = Crosses of May = May Crosses

And it is especially in my ‘adopted’ home town today, 1st of May, 2017.

In many towns in Spain, for years some neighbourhoods have participated in this flowerful fiesta. Local residents spend time and money making a big replica of The Cross ( La Cruz) and cover it completely with beautiful flowers and adornments.  See article on May Crosses Cruces de Mayo, Spain

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This display cleverly turns the Cross into an anchor (!), as it’s situated in the Fishermen’s Village of the town

The during the fiesta, the locals organise a big party for all to participate in, for a very small donation to the proceedings.

I was in a couple of Plazas today in my adopted home town and had a wonderful time with the locals  enjoying the wine, food,  guitar music and dancing.

 

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There was plenty of  wine, beer,  paella, sangría, hams and cheeses, and Spanish omelettes to be had for next-to-nothing prices, because this fiesta is not for making profit: and the atmosphere was great!

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Andalusian style to the display: cart, Spanish guitar, water pitcher, table and chairs, shawl and fan set on a chair…lovely!

Why all this festivity around decorating a Cross?

Any excuse for a fiesta, perhaps?

No…far from it.

The real significance of this festival is quite grand and dates  from Rome in the 4th Century, so not to be sniffed at!

Historical note:

The Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (4th Century AD) was in some trouble at battle. The battle was actually on a bridge in Rome Battle of Milvian Bridge, Rome

Constantine the Great was a woried man on the night of the 27th October, 312. He could not get to sleep the night before the great battle.

Like any other warrior in those days who was worth his salt, Constantine  prayed to win the battle the next day. He prayed to whomsoever was out there, regardless.

So legend would have it that the night before the battle of Ponte Milvio (Milvian Bridge), Constantine, when he finally managed to get a bit of shut-eye, had a vision. If he had a vision and exactly what the vision was, is still debated by historians today…but let’s imagine; he had a vision and that vision was a sign. A sign that was being used by  Christians at the time.

In the vision, the legend says, Constantine was told he would win the battle of the Ponte Milvio if he showed the Christian ‘sign’ on his soldiers shield.

Traditionally this was taken to be the sign of The Cross, although realistically it could have been one of several ‘signs’ going around at the time, signifying Christianity

What choice did poor old Constantine have? Having nothing to lose (except the battle) he decided to go along with the ‘vision’.

You would have done exactly the same in his position.

Anyways, guess what?

Oh Yes! He won the battle fair and square, which made Constantine, some say, convert to Christianity on the spot, in gratefulness to ‘the sign’.

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The Mayor  of the village will be judging the Cross displays later this evening and I think it will be a close contest…

But it’s not about winning, but enjoying some ‘neighbourliness’ that can only come from a common purpose, good music and good food, all enjoyed in the sun.

I love this country.

 

 

 

 

 

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