Tenerife’s May Fiestas de la Cruz: Los Realejos fireworks competition recast as an offering as viewing will be online only

Photo: Adeje Ayuntamiento.

Updated 2 May: As I said in the post below, the best known May Fiesta here is in Los Realejos, with a world-famous competitive firework display between two streets of the town – Calle El Sol and Calle El Medio – that has always been part of the town’s Cruces & Fuegos fiesta. Obviously last year was different, and this year will be too, as organizers have said there will be fireworks but not as a competition. Los Realejos Mayor Domínguez said that there will be an “offering” instead, and at 11pm so no-one will be able to gather in the streets because of the curfew; viewing will be online via the council’s social media, particularly its Youtube channel HERE – as so many have watched in previous years anyway. 

Original post 30 April: You might see floral crosses In many areas of Tenerife right now. They are symbols of the Fiesta de la Cruz de Mayo (May Cross Fiesta) which is celebrated on 3 May throughout Spain, but especially in Tenerife because it is the date on which, in 1494, Santa Cruz was founded. The best known celebration here is in Los Realejos, where a firework display that is now world-famous is part of the town’s Cruces & Fuegos fiesta, but there are also major celebrations in any town with Cruz in the name. This year, however, things will inevitably be different but the crosses will still be made, with ribbons, fruit, wooden decoration and, above all, flowers.

Although the actual origins of the fiesta are unclear, the cross is evidently a Christian symbol. The real roots, however, are far older, and go back to pre-Christian, pagan times when May represented fertility and growth, and signified Spring passing into Summer. To mark this time, trees were traditionally decorated with greenery, flowers and coloured ribbons to represent the blooming of new life and the abundance of the land. And as the main symbolic representation of fertility in many village greens and squares, the tree was replaced by a pole and was decorated instead.

We might think of the maypole and the morris dancers as particularly British, but in Spain, the Fiesta de la Cruz de Mayo was originally called the Fiesta del Palo de Mayo … not the “cross of May” but the Pole of May, a literal May Pole! And if you look at any fiesta or especially romeria here, you’ll see the celebrants in their white clothing with red ribbons and bells … looking for all the world like the Morris Dancers familiar in the UK!

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