Accommodation Update

Late Availability Latest

August availability is now getting scarce, especially for the week leading up to 15th as that is the annual town fiesta week.  While we are normally happy to take non Saturday to Saturday bookings we are now unable to take any more arrivals on Wed 9th August.  Arriving Sat 5th or Sat 12th should be fine though, as long as we can still find you a room.

The second half of August has a few more possibilities, but rooms are now definitely more of an issue. The main reason for this is with the introduction of the new villa and self catering licensing laws for Spain a huge amount of SC properties are no longer available legally, which has caused a knock on effect into hotel availability.

Definitely time to book now if you are still undecided, and we will do our utmost to get you your first choice of accommodation.

Too Busy /  Rushed Off Your Feet??

And, if you really busy and haven’t time to check out all the options then just click for a no obligation “Quick Quote” and just let us know how many of you there, how many bedrooms you’d like and when you’d like to come.

We’ll sift through the various accommodation options for you and then email you a detailed no obligation quotation, showing the exact pricing, the activity options, accommodation details and much more to read when you have a moment.

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

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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

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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.