In many parts of the world, especially in Spain and specifically in Andalucía, the festival of the May Crosses is celebrated. This is, in fact, one of the most popular holidays in Granada, which will take place on the 3rd of May. Year by year, Granada has been a host city for thousands of visitors from all over Spain who want to enjoy this special day in a unique atmosphere.
This festival was founded by St. Helen in the 4th century who wanted to show special respect for the cross upon which Jesus was crucified. As the history tells us, St Helen had a son who dreamed of a cross, which would help him to win a battle he was losing. So, a large cross was built by his troops and then carried into the battle, which ultimately was won. The family was inspired by it so much that they converted to Christianity. St. Helen went to Jerusalem to find the authentic cross, which performed miracles, and urged people to continue worshipping after her death. The modern celebration tradition of the cross dressing has been revived in the 18th century.
Nowadays in Granada the City Council runs a competition to promote the tradition. A lot of crosses – decorated by thousands of carnations – compete for the prize. Moreover, courtyards, streets and squares, shops windows and schools are part of this contest too. As a result, Granada is decorated by thousands of flowers that perfume the city with amazing aroma. Women and children wear typical andalusian dress; decorate crosses, dance and sing. The Granadines walk around the city visiting the crosses, dancing and celebrating this special day.
We advise you to visit Plaza Larga, Casa de los Pisas or calle Zafra in Albaicin and the Corrala de Santiago in Realejo where crosses get the best prize every year. Moreover, Plaza del Carmen or Plaza Bib-Rambla and its surroundings are great places to enjoy the beauty of this tradition. There you can watch flamenco performances during the afternoon or evening on the 3rdof May.