The May crosses in Andalusia

After the Holy Week and the fairs organized in the different Andalusian localities, other of the traditional festivals and that in a time history were on the verge of disappearing are the crosses of May.

The crosses of May, are a folkloric and popular tradition of Andalusia, a tradition that unites the religious with the festive and that was initially linked to a neighborhood tradition.

The beginning this tradition occurs in the traditional Andalusian community housing, known as neighborhood pens. In these houses, in particular, in the main courtyard where the houses are located on several floors, a huge cross with flowers was made, since the month of May is the month of flowers and the Virgin Mary.

Around is a huge cross with different colors for its different flowers, adorned with more flowers, and other types of ornaments such as lanterns similar to those used in the fair. Each neighborhood patio organized the cross and competed with each other.

Around the cross parties were organized on Sundays where they ate would be sung and danced. However, the celebration of the May cross was not only playful but also religious in nature.

The children of the neighborhood built their replicas of Easter steps and organized small processions around the neighborhood collecting from neighbors to improve their work. In the month of May it was very common to see in the streets of children’s processions many of them of great quality

. This tradition was on the point of disappearing towards the 30s of the twentieth century, however, the tradition remained the same, although it came to architectural changes, such as the disappearance of neighbors’ pens, the crosses of May have changed their form of tradition in the last years.

Nowadays these crosses are no longer displayed in neighborhood pens, but in the squares of the towns or neighborhoods of different cities. This change in the model of the city has led to the party becoming more open and the crosses and embellishments cover more space.

These crosses of May in the different neighborhoods because of their size has led them to become replicas of fairs. Likewise, the tradition of children in procession is increasingly seen less frequently, however, without having noticed an increase in processions with young people and adults, which processionals an image of the virgin linked to that neighborhood or to a specific activity.

We can not forget the anthropological link between a playful and religious tradition with a neighborhood and the activity related to it. Many of these neighborhoods that organize the crossings that are several workers and initially were linked to the guild of dyers, common activity centuries ago.

Nowadays the activity of the crosses of May, fortunately they continue and we can enjoy them with an evolution by the changes in the time that the customs, nevertheless we can see the artistic beauty of many of them in different points of Andalusia.

The cities of Córdoba, Seville and Granada organize real events related to this tradition, however we must not forget numerous and localities located in the Andalusian geography in the provinces of Córdoba or Granada, highlighting towns such as Priego de Córdoba or Cabra in the Cordoba subbetic mountains .

No crosses of May are a prelude to other major tracks such as the different pilgrimages (the dew) or the corpus Christi that are close in time and which can be enjoyed in a period with favorable weather.