May festivities

3rd. of May, Day of the Holy Cross

May is the month with the most outstanding traditions of Los Realejos. The most ancient festivity is that of the invention of the Cross, commanded by Bishop Muros, soon after the end of the conquering in 1496. There are a large amount of crosses existing at the side of roads, in chapels and shrines and even in private houses, especially in the village of La Cruz Santa that will be decorated with flowers. In los Realejos one of the most elaborate and beautiful silver crosses is carried on a solid, heavy, wooden platform up and down hills and through the streets of the town. Surrounding this cross are elaborate, silver candelabras and the whole platform is covered with white flowers. This platform is set down in front of each church so that one cross could pay homage to the other. In one church, on the Calle El Sol, the silver cross is set up high and row after row of flowers cascade to the floor, all done in white: roses, lilies, baby’s breath, carnations, hyacinths, gladiolas... magnificent. The main attractions of this celebration are the fireworks on the night of May 3rd., the biggest on the Canary Islands. As the procession proceeds, two streets, ´Calle del Medio´ and ´Calle del Sol´, compete in the size and spectacular nature of their firework displays and in the decoration of their chapels.

In Puerto de la Cruz this day is also celebrated and here it is related to the foundation of the city. There is a procession where the silver cross is taken along the different churches and chapels of the centre, all of them decorated with fruits and flowers.

Last sunday in May, Saint Isidro Labrador

After the festivities of the Cross, is the turn of Saint Isidro Labrador. The records prove that this party was first celebrated in 1676, when his statue was placed in the Saint James the Apostile parish church. At the end of the last century, the simple festival recovered its religious excellence, without losing its traditional taste. After a religious celebration in honour to the Saint, starts the carts parade. They are decorated with plants, branches, flowers, farming equipment and a pig’s head, which has been sacrificed for the festivities. Each one is an agricultural emblem, representing the different streets and districts of the zone. The balconies and windows have typical decorations of the Islands. Also an exhibition of cattle is organized, showing the best examples. There are parties and Canarian fighting, people make music and dance in the streets. The local people are renowned for their generosity, offering visitors typical local wines, “wrinkled” potatoes, popcorn, beans, gofio and tasty beef in spicy sauce. Fire works again end this celebration.

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