La Palma Fiestas de Mayo

La Palma is full of crosses either along its numerous paths or on the hills. They are crossroads or they crown mountains. On La Palma, even crosses have their own celebration which is held on May 3rd when they are decorated by means of  flowers and candles are lit in front of them. In their honour, fireworks are launched.
La Palma Fiestas de Mayo
In Breña Alta this celebration dates from 1622 when a kind of miracle took place, as Viera y Clavijo (a historian) explained when talking about two crosses existing in the San Pedro church,”a black man who was cutting down a laurel tree, found  them”. Along the narrow and astonishing paths of this village, its crosses made of wood in May are covered with luxurious clothes and with jewellery. It consists of a competition among the different crosses in an attempt to find out which one is the most beautiful and the richest, and, definitely, the best.

Early in the morning, when the sun rises, crosses shine due to the reflection of the sun rays over the jewelry made of old Cuban gold with the images of the Madonna de la Regla and the Madonna del Cobre as well as jewelry such as the Madonna Coromoto medals and jewels similar to orchids which are made of a different and newer kind of gold. They are surrounded by bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Crosses are sustained by some altars full of religious symbols. Quite often, they reproduce biblic images, dwarfs, ships, mills and even, on one occasion in 1985, when the Astrophysics Observatory was founded, there was a cross which was surrounded by elements of an Observatory. This Festival takes place at night and therefore there is a stand next to every cross where the devotes looks after it on the night from May 2nd, to May 3rd.

ImageIn Santa Cruz de la Palma, this celebration is really important as it commemorates the foundation of the town and its saint’s day. The conquest of the island was completed on May 3rd in 1493, when the conquistadores commended La Palma to the patronage of the Holy Cross. This is commemorated every year by a religious procession carrying a silver cross dating from 1865 , which is kept in the El Salvador church, and the town’s standard. The night before the fiesta, citizens replace the fabric covering the crosses hanging on the walls of this Renaissance town. The new fabric is made into decorative pleats and hems. Afterwards, they adorn the crosses with jewellery and flowers. Next to the cross, or sometimes in balconies or on flat roofs, they place mayos or machangos. These are dolls something like scarecrows representing traditional life or current affairs.

More information: www.lapalmaturismo.com

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