Cruces de Mayo 2018

The annual “Cruces de Mayo” or May Crosses competition starts today, 3rd May.

All the Crosses for this year’s Competition will be displayed from 16:00 on Thursday 3rd until 18:00 on Sunday 6th May.

The daily times this year have an end time of 02:00 apart from Sunday 6th which is 18:00.  Music can only played from 12:00 to 18:00 and from 20:00 to 02:00 on the 4th and 5th,

from 16:00 to 02:00 on 3rd, and 12:00  to 18:00 on Sunday 6th.

The judging will take place from 19:00 on Thursday 3rd

As much a demonstration of pagan tradition as it is of Christian faith the origins of Cruces De Mayo 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.

The official entrants this year are as follows, but n.b. there are usually quite a few “fringe” ones as well, as local children often make small Crosses in the manner of “penny for the guy” in the UK.

ORACIÓN DEL HUERTO Plaza de la Rosa

COFRADÍA SAN JUAN     Plaza Noreta

CRUZ DE LA PIEDAD      Calle Escamado. Taberna Antigua

CURRITO Ángel Gámez

COFRADIA  VIRGEN DE LOS DOLORES  Plaza de la Victoria

CRUZ VERACRUZ Y SEPULCRO  Plaza de la Victoria

CRUZ LA ALHAMBRA Calle Angustias Moderna 5

CRUZ ARTE -SUR Casa de la Cultura

CRUZ INTERNACIONAL KELIBIA Plaza Kelibia

CRUZ COFRADÍA ESPERANZA Plaza Kelibia (Análisis Clínicos)

CRUZ LAS INFANTAS Plaza de la Victoria

CRUZ TROPICAL POKER Calle Andrés Müller

CRUZ COFRADIA NAZARENO   Calle Vélez

 

2017 Almunecar Cruces De Mayo

Once again its the annual Cruces de Mayo, or the May Crosses. This year they’re being exhibited from Sunday 30th April through to Wednesday 3rd May, with judging being started on 30th from 19:00 onwards.

Each cross will be awarded up to 5 points in each of the following categories: Decoration of the cross itself, variety & selection of flowers, lighting, surroundings, display of local / traditional gastronomy and overall originality, with a special children’s category as well.

As every year there are limits on the times for music, with hours being generally Sunday 12:00 – 18:00 and 20:00 – 02:00.  Monday & Tuesday 12:00 – 18:00 and 20:00 – 02:00 ad finally Wednesday from 12:00 – 22:00.

As much a demonstration of pagan tradition as it is of Christian faith the origins of Cruces De Mayo 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.

Cruz Cofradía de la Oración en el Huerto, en plaza de la Rosa.
Cruz de La Piedad, Plaza Kelibia
Cruz Internacional Kelibia, plaza Kelibia
Cruz Alhambra, Calle Angustias Moderna,5
Cruz Bar A´Kalbili, Calle Torre Quevedo, 8
Cruz Currito, Calle Ángel Gámez
Cruz San Juan, Plaza de Noreta
Cruz de la Victoria, Plaza de la Victoria
Cruz Vera Cruz y Sepulcro, Plaza de la Victoria,
Cruz Resucitado y Triunfo, Plaza de la Victoria
Cruz Infantil Las Infantas, Plaza de la Victoria.

La Herradura has seven entries:
Cruz Barrio Alto, Calle Barrio Alto 5
Cruz Asociación de Comerciantes, Calle Canalejas 16.
Cruz Vecinos de Las Maravillas, parque Las Maravillas.
Cruz Club del Pensionista, Club del Pensionista Centro Cívico
Cruz Matilde
Cruz Los Compadres, Calle Canalejas
Cruz El Duende, calle Alhambra Edif. Campin Bajo.

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

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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

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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 …