This week I would like to write about a tradition that is celebrated every year in May in many places in Spain and Latin America.
Las Cruces de Mayo (Crosses of May) or also called Fiesta de las Cruces (Festival of the Crosses) is a festivity that consists of installing crosses made with flowers in the streets and squares of the cities. Is a holiday celebrated on 3 May in many parts of Spain and Hispanic America (Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Guatemala, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago and El Salvador).History of the festival of Crosses of May
The religious origins of the festival of the May Cross are based on the discovery of the cross that Saint Helena made during her pilgrimage to Jerusalem, right in the same place where Christ died.
The history of the Feast of the Cross, with part of a legend, tells that Emperor Constantine I the Great, in the sixth year of his reign, had an unequal battle with the barbarians on the banks of the Danube River, whose victory was believed to be impossible because of the difference between the two armies.
One night before the battle, Emperor Constantine had a vision in which the cross of Christ appeared to him shining in the sky and above the cross were the words “In Hoc Signo Vincis” (With this sign you will win).
Emperor Constantine had a cross built to put at the head of his army. And guess what happened?
With the cross of Jesus Christ he defeated the enemies against all odds!
Later, he found out the meaning of the cross, was baptized in the Christian religion and had churches built. Such was his faith that he sent his mother, Saint Helena, to Jerusalem to find the cross of Christ.
Once there, Helena summoned the wisest priests to aid in her attempt to find the cross. On Calvary Hill, traditionally considered the site of Jesus’s crucifixion, she found three bloody logs hidden. In order to discover which was the True Cross, she placed the logs one by one over sick people, and even dead people, who were cured or resuscitated at the touch of the True Cross.
The veneration of the True Cross, and the use of pieces of the True Cross as relics, begins at this time. Santa Helena died praying for all believers in Christ to celebrate the commemoration of the day the Cross was found.
The festival of the Cruces de Mayo is widespread throughout Spain, although with some differences depending on where it is celebrated.
The center of the festival is the cross, which has different sizes, depending on where it is located and placed: in squares, streets, patios of houses, etc.
The crosses are adorned and decorated with flowers, plants and other elaborate objects as decorations for the occasion.
The Crosses of May are deeply rooted and are well known in different parts of Spain (Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Cartagena, Canary Islands, Segovia, Valencia, etc).