Almunecar Cruces De Mayo (May Crosses) Competition 2016

2016 Cruces De Mayo (May Crosses) Competition

We’re gearing up for this year’s Cruces De Mayo (May Crosses) competition which is always a good sign that summer is just around the corner.  This is a key fiesta date for Andalucia, and the ceremonies are always well observed here, being a key part of local folk lore, as well as a religious ceremony.

This fascinating and colourful fiesta is as much a demonstration of pagan tradition as it is of Christian faith and its origins are rooted in a confusion of legend and folklore.  For full information on the meaning and history of the May Crosses please see our dedicated meaning of Cruces de Mayo post – and for May Day info see Dia del Trabajo.

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2016 Cruces De Mayo (May Crosses) Competition

Inscriptions were open from 22 to 29 April and the actual dates have been confirmed as 30 April to 3rd May.  Two separate Cruces de Mayo  competitions will be held – one for Almuñécar and one for La Herradura.

The entries must be displayed between 12:00 on Saturday 30th April until 22:00 Tuesday 3rd May.  The latest they can be seen is also set as 03:00 in the morning of 1st May, 02:00 on the 1st & 2nd and midnight on the 3rd – there are also restrictions on how late music can be played and until when the bars are open..

For this year, the three Cruces de Mayo with the highest scores from the judges will be winners (separate competitions for Almuñécar & La Herradura) with the overall winners to be featured on the 2017 promotional posters.

Cruces de Mayo

Judging of the May Crosses will take into account the natural decoration of the cross, the type of flowers and plants used, lighting, the way it fits into the local environment, traditional cuisine and originality.  Each of these attributes will be awarded a maximum of 5 points – with a special consideration being made of crosses which especially enhance a courtyard, plaza or other location.

 

The actual judges will be visiting the crosses on Sat 30th April, from 19:00 onwards, so if you want to see the actual points being awarded then that’s the time to be there.

A separate children’s May Crosses competition will run in parallel, for ages up to 16, competing in groups of up to 10.  These will be judged on 2nd May from 12:00 onwards.

Cruces de Mayo (May Crosses) 2016 – List of Entries

As soon as these are announced on Friday 29th we will post the locations here.

Cruces de Mayo 2016
Almunecar Cruces de Mayo 2016

Cruces De Mayo – May Crosses

Meaning of the Cruces De Mayo – May Crosses

This fascinating and colourful fiesta is as much a demonstration of pagan tradition as it is of Christian faith and its origins are rooted in a confusion of legend and folklore.  It is close to, but separate from Dia de Trabajo, or May 1st Day of the Worker.

As a representation of the Cross of Christ, its religious significance is obvious and the fiesta is intended to be a time of prayer and religious devotion. But for many the cross was also a symbol of the meeting of the four elements as well as the union of male and female.

The point of intersection represents the essence of creation, matter, the world and universe – all of life itself. Its the celebration of this life, reborn with the spring solstice, that brings natural jubilation to the celebrations in the form of floral offerings and decorations, music and dance.

This fiesta is very popular throughout Andalucía and Almuñécar is no different. Traditionally, the crosses were only displayed in the houses of nobles and gentry but now anybody who wants can set up a cross in his living room or patio. Often neighbours get together to decorate a street corner or plaza. And, of course, the children make their own crosses too.  Here in Almunecar there is an annual Cruces de Mayo competition.

Cruces de Mayo

Flowers, shawls, mantillas, assorted household objects, musical instruments or even agricultural implements may be used to create a tableaux or shrine  surrounding an ornamental cross, usually made almost entirely of flowers.

These elements of the everyday surrounding the cross are perhaps an unconscious evocation of the connection between Christ’s suffering and sacrifice and that of people everywhere on a daily basis. Fragrant herbs will be strewn upon the ground, typical music will play, people will dance, typical dishes will be made and handed out to passers by. These dishes will include some made from local cane honey, such as a sticky toffee called ‘arropía’, gooey balls of syrupy popcorn called ‘melcocha’ or ‘mercocha’, and toffee-covered ‘nísperos’ or locquats, the orange-coloured fruit that you see on many trees at this time of year. Prizes are awarded for the best crosses, but people often leave a donation on the dish provided as a sign of appreciation.

Cruces de Mayo II

Why “Crosses” of May?

But why is the Cross celebrated on this day? The story goes back to the first Christian emperor of Rome, Constantine the Great, in the 4th century. He attributed his victory in a battle with the Barbarians to a cross. In gratitude, he sent his mother, later to become Saint Helena, on a mission to do good works in the Holy Land. She busied herself founding churches and while doing so discovered, beneath a temple to Venus, the site of the Holy Sepulchre, the cave where Christ was entombed after the cruxifixion. Inside were three crosses, obviously those of Christ and the two robbers. But which was Christ’s?

Someone had the bright idea of trying their curative powers on a mortally sick woman.

Sure enough, one of the crosses cured her, so it was obviously the right one. It was then decided to distribute fragments of the Cross far and wide, so they could be displayed at as many places of worship as possible. This led some, like the spoilsport French Protestant John Calvin, to doubt that all the relics of the Cross were genuine. He opined that if all the supposed bits of the Cross were put back together again, it would “be comparable in bulk to a battleship”, a claim rebutted in some detail by another Frenchman, Rohault de Fleury, in 1870. He drew up a catalogue of all known fragments of the Cross and concluded that the total fell well short of the amount required to make a full-size cross. The Church simply argued that, having been touched by the blood of Christ, the wood of the Cross had acquired a kind of material indestructibility, and could thus be divided up indefinitely.

Meanwhile, the largest known relic of the Cross is said to reside in northern Spain, in the mountains of Asturias, at the monastery church of Santo Toribio de Liébana, near the town of Potes and is an important place of pilgrimage.

Two feast days were originally celebrated in connection with the Cross. One was peculiar to the French Gallican branch of the Church. It was introduced in the 7th century and was held on the 3rd May. It was called the ‘Feast of the Invention of the Cross’, invention meaning ‘finding’ or ‘coming upon’ in this instance. It is known also as ‘Crouchmas’ in English.

The other was the ‘Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross’ which commemorated both the discovery of the Holy Sepulchre and the recovery and restoration to Jerusalem in 630 by the Emperor Heraclius of a sizeable chunk of the Cross which had been stolen by the Persians. This feast took place on the 13th and 14th of September, and was one of the most solemn feasts in the calendar. It is still celebrated by some parts of the Church.

The 3rd May, however, was removed from the Catholic Church’s calendar by Pope John XX111 in 1960 as part of a policy to abolish or move feasts that fell between Easter and Pentecost.

This has not affected its popularity here; on the contrary, there seem to be more and more May Crosses every year.
You may find this fanciful or consider it yet another feast based on the flimsiest of evidence.
You may even feel the need as you look upon a May Cross to give voice to your doubts and say, ‘Very nice, but …’.

And the apple with a pair of scissors impaled in it?
It’s there to ward off doubters …

1st May – Dia del Trabajor

1st May – Dia del Trabajor

These days, when we take for granted all manner of rights and laws covering our well-being at work, the holiday that is celebrated on the first of May, known in Spain as ‘el día del trabajo’ – ‘Work Day’ – serves to remind us that it was not always thus. The marches held on this day are now peaceful enough, but they pay homage to a struggle that came to a head in protests in Chicago in 1886.

At that time, working conditions for manual workers were appalling. Your working day would typically last sixteen hours, your wages would be low, your standard of living likewise. Children worked from the age of six, women would have to do the night shift to augment their husbands’ wages. Thousands of workers went on strike at the beginning of May, 1886, and demonstrated for the right to a 48-hour week or an 8-hour day. In circumstances that remain controversial to this day, violence erupted, several people were killed, many were arrested and some were even subsequently executed following farcical trials, becoming known as the Haymarket Martyrs.

The date of May 1st, already a day dedicated to some pagan festivals, later became an emblematic day for the labour movement and a national holiday in some countries. Every year in Spain since 1976 there have been marches organized by the trades unions on this day, the slogan this year being “Por la igualdad, empleo de calidad”, ie to achieve equality we need good-quality employment.

Immediately surrounding 1st May are the Cruces de Mayo, or May Crosses.

Almunecar Triathlon 2016

Almunecar Triathlon 2016

Just a reminder that there are street closures for the Almunecar triathlon tomorrow, Saturday 9 April,  from 16:00 to around 19:30 or so:

Plaza de Abderramán, Paseo de las Flores, Paseo de San Cristóbal, Paseo de la China, Paseo de Cotobro, Calle Principal de Cotobro, Carretera de la Playa, Nacional 340 desde Túnel de Cotobro hasta Cuartel de la Guardia Civil, Avda. Costa Banana, Avda. Costa del Sol, Calle Guadix.

As well as the above the following will also be closed to traffic: Avda. de Andalucía, Plaza Madrid, Paseo Prieto Moreno y Paseo del Altillo, Calle Bikini, Cuesta El Majuelo y Calle San Miguel, Cuesta Nazareno y calle Puerta de Granada.

The start is scheduled for 16:30 and it’s expected that around a 1000 entrants will be competing in the triathlon, so it should be a good spectacle, especially as the forecast is for a sunny day of around 19C.

The town hall and local police have asked for patience from motorists, especially as this will necessitate a closure of the main A340 road between the Guardia Civil quarters, and the just past the tunnel by the turning to the marina.

Ruta de Tapas Almunecar 2016

II Annual Ruta de Tapas Almunecar 2016

What looks like becoming an annual event, the second “Ruta de Tapas” is currently running until 10th April.  Sponsored by the local department of trade, the idea is to help promote the smaller establishments, as well as being an excellent way to spend an evening or three.  Some 33 local tapas bars and restaurants are competing this year, so you are guaranteed to find some pretty excellent tapas!

Hot chorizo tapas
Hot chorizo tapas

The idea is that you use a “passport” to collect proofs of visits, and then vote on the best three tapas received. The winning bars will receive awards with the overall best getting free exhibition fees at the annual Gastro Fair in Majuelo Park later in spring.

To participate, simply pick up a “passport” from any of the bars listed.  You’ll need to collect at least five stamps from separate bars to be able to vote.  To count as votes, your passports can be posted at the Palacete de Najarra, the Tourist Office on Paseo Atilla or at the Ayuntamiento.

The following tapas bars & restaurants are competing this year:
· 1. BAR LA JARANA (Calle Mariana Pineda, 1)
Nombre de la tapa: “SECRETO”

· 2. BAR LA SACRISTÍA SEXITANA (Calle Jesús Nazareno, 2 Bajo)
Nombre de la tapa: PULPO SACRISTÍA

· 3. RESTAURANTE LA CORRALA (Calle Antigua, 11)
Nombre de la tapa: BROCHETA DE PESCADO Y LANGOSTINO CON SALSA DE MANGO, CURRY Y HUEVAS DE PESCADO

· 4. ASADOR CASA LA PARRA (Calle Parra, 7)
Nombre de la tapa: TARTAR DE ATÚN CON AGUACATE

· 5. BAR EL VIEJO PORTÓN (Calle Bilbao, 2)
Nombre de la tapa: POLLO EN ESCABECHE

· 6. BAR LA TERRAZA DEL ACUARIO (Plaza Kuwait,)
Nombre de la tapa: PITUFO CON JAMÓN ASADO

· 7. MESÓN LOS ARCOS (Avenida Cala, 11)
Nombre de la tapa: ALBÓNDIGAS CASERAS CON TOMATE Y GUISANTES

· 8. CA LA CAPERU (Calle Trinidad, 6)
Nombre de la tapa: TIBURÓN DE ENSALADILLA CON BOQUERÓN Y GAMBA AL PIL-PIL

· 9. LA BODEGA SEXITANA (Plaza Kuwait)
Nombre de la tapa: “NAVEGANDO”

· 10. BAR LA TRASTIENDA (Plaza Kelibia)
Nombre de la tapa: CANELÓN CON BASE DE TOMATE RELLENO DE ESPINACAS Y PIÑONES BAÑADO CON BECHAMEL Y QUESO RALLADO

· 11. MESÓN PETETE (Calle Mar de Plata)
Nombre de la tapa: CARRILLADA IBÉRICA

· 12. BAR GRANOS DE CAFÉ (Plaza Los Higuitos)
Nombre de la tapa: PITUFO ESPECIAL

· 13. MESÓN EMILIANO (Calle Fuente Nueva, 9)
Nombre de la tapa: MILHOJAS RELLENO DE BACALAO CON JULIANAS DE SETAS

· 14. BAR LA TRALLA ( Calle Manila, 10)
Nombre de la tapa: LA TRALLA

· 15. BAR LA TASCA ( Calle Manila)
Nombre de la tapa: TORTILLA DE CAMARONES CON UN TOQUE TROPICAL

· 16. BODEGA FRANCISCO I ( Calle Real, 7)
Nombre de la tapa: BACALAO 1951

· 17. BAR CASA CHATO ( Carrera de la Concepción, 8)
Nombre de la tapa: HINOJOS

· 18. CAFETERIA LA ÉPOCA (Calle Cristóbal Colón, 9)
Nombre de la tapa: BACALAO DORADO

19. BAR EL TEMPLO (Calle Puerto de la Cruz)
Nombre de la tapa: BURRITOS CON GUACAMOLE

· 20. MESÓN MARI Y MIGUEL ( Avenida Andalucía, 18)
Nombre de la tapa: GAMBAS AL PIL-PIL

· 21. CALABRE (Paseo San Cristóbal)
Nombre de la tapa: SAN CRISTÓBAL

· 22. BAR EL MOLINO (Calle Cerveteri, 3)
Nombre de la tapa: CUSCÚS

· 23. MI BAR (Calle Pablo Iglesias, 2)
Nombre de la tapa: ALBÓNDIGAS CASERAS EN SALSA DE TOMATE Y CEBOLLA CON PATATAS BASTÓN

· 24. RESTAURANTE GASTROBAR DE LA FLOR (Avenida Europa, 25)
Nombre de la tapa: FALSO TOMATE DE FOIE Y TIERRA DE ACEITUNA NEGRA

· 25. BAR AKAL BILI (Calle Torres Quevedo, 5)
Nombre de la tapa: “ENFRITÁ” DE PULPO

· 26. LA TABERNA DEL GALA (Calle Granada, 25)
Nombre de la tapa: SOLOMILLO IBÉRICO CON QUESO DE CABRA Y CEBOLLA CARAMELIZADA

· 27. BAR EL TIMÓN (Avenida Costa del Sol, 9)
Nombre de la tapa: BROCHETA DE MARISCO

· 28. CERVECERÍA LA MORAGA (Calle Bilbao esquina con Calle Montevideo)
Nombre de la tapa: ROSADA A LA CREMA DE MARSICO

· 29. DE LA FLOR KELIBIA SNACK BAR (Plaza Kelibia)
Nombre de la tapa: ¿TORTILLA DE PATATAS?

· 30. MESÓN ROCIO (Calle Granada, 6)
Nombre de la tapa: TOSTA DE MORCILLA CON PIMIENTOS DEL PIQUILLO Y QUESO MANCHEGO

· 31. BAR EL LERELE (Plaza Kelibia)
Nombre de la tapa: ESENCIA DE ABRIL

· 32. BAR INTERNATIONAL KELIBIA (Plaza Kelibia)
Nombre de la tapa: TOSTA MODERNA KELIBIA

· 33. RESTAURANTE LA CHINA (Paseo de Cotobro, 5)
Nombre de la tapa: LASAÑA CASERA DE LA CHINA

April 2016 Almunecar Cultural Agenda

April 2016 “What’s On” / Cultural Agenda for  Almunecar

The April 2016  “What’s on” or Cultural Agenda for Almunecar has been published by the town hall.

A varied selection this month, with the Andalucia Institute for Flamenco with a flamenco ballet, piano concerts, a guitar orchestra, the Moscow Ballet performing Don Quijote, the Youth orchestra of southern Spain performing Beethoven’s 5th & Shostakovich’s 9th and R&B with Red Rombo, amongst others.

Click on image below to enlarge…

April 2016 Almunecar Cultural Agenda
April 2016 Almunecar Cultural Agenda