cruz mayo

Photo: Adeje Ayuntamiento.

Wherever you look today, you’ll see floral crosses, symbols of the Fiesta de la Cruz de Mayo (May Cross Fiesta) which is celebrated throughout Spain on 3 May. The best known one here, perhaps, is in Los Realejos, where the world-famous firework display tonight is part of the town’s Cruces & Fuegos fiesta (see HERE). There are also major celebrations, however, in Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz – indeed there is a municipal public holiday in these three towns (see HERE) – and in fact in any town with Cruz in the name! In Adeje alone, there will be events and floral crosses in Los Olivos, La Postura, El Galeón, Adeje Casco, Fañabe, Las Nieves, Armeñime, Los Menores, La Hoya, Tijoco, La Concepción and Tijoco Alto!

The origins of the fiesta are usually related to Christian theology, most notably through the symbolism of the crosses which are decked with flowers. But the real roots are far older, and go back to pre-Christian, pagan, times when Maytime was the season of Spring becoming Summer, of fertility and growth, and when trees were decorated with greenery, flowers and coloured ribbons to represent the blooming of new life wherever one looked.

And symbolically representing fertility in the centres of many rural settlements, in village greens and squares, a pole took the place of the tree and was decorated instead. And we have just such symbolism and mythology in our own culture, however different it may be in other ways. In Spain, the Fiesta de la Cruz de Mayo was originally called the Fiesta del Palo de Mayo … the May Pole. Or, as we would have it, the Maypole! Now to find some Morris dancers …


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