Cruces de Mayo (May Crosses)

When? May 3

Where? Public squares and courtyards throughout the Granada center and the Albaicín.

Cruces de MayoCruces de Mayo Traditions:
Large, happy crowds of locals and visitors alike fill up the center and the Albaicín to capacity during this colorful celebration of religion and spring. Special groups, much like the Holy Week brotherhoods, slave over the annual decoration of their respective cross, which they then erect in a public square or courtyard. "Casetas" are set up nearby each cross (in the very same plaza or courtyard) where you can find the typical jubilant Andalucían antics and shenanigans: eating, drinking, partying, and dancing sevillanas.

Aside from these marvelous florally-decorated temporary crosses, fixed crosses also get a lavish makeover, as do the various plazas and courtyards. With people to impress and awards to be won, decoration during Cruces de Mayo becomes almost a marathon sport- you'll easily see why it's one of Granada's world-famous festivals!

Cruces de MayoCruces de Mayo History:
As you can imagine, the Cruces de Mayo (May Crosses) is yet another Spanish festival rooted in religion. The story starts back in the day of the Roman Emperor Constantine, who was not only the first Roman emperor to not persecute Christians but also a convert.

According to the story, the evening before a battle in which he and his troops were considerably outnumbered and the outlook seemed grim, Constantine had a vision in which the form of a cross appeared. When Constantine awoke, he ordered the immediate construction of a cross as his vision had apparently instructed him to do. Miraculously, his underdog troops came out with the victory, Constantine converted to Christianity, ordered the construction of churches, and sent his mother to Jerusalem to find the cross upon which Christ died.

So, his mother- Saint Elena- headed to the Holy Land, managed to find the cross, and spent the rest of her life pleading with Christians to celebrate May 3rd- the day that the cross was found.