Blog Islas Canarias OFFICIAL CANARY ISLANDS
TOURISM BLOG
www.hellocanaryislands.com
Blog Islas Canarias OFFICIAL CANARY ISLANDS
TOURISM BLOG
www.hellocanaryislands.com

Fiesta de la Cruz on La Palma


Highlights
How to Enjoy Carnival on Tenerife
Deserted beach and abandoned salt pans in Lanzarote
La Palma: A Heaven for Stargazing
Experience participating in Transgrancanaria
A Road Trip Around the North of Fuerteventura
A Journey to the end of the World, or to Punta de Orchilla
Diversity on the rocks: Hundreds of unique species
La Gomera, the romantic getaway
Following a Tapas Route on Tenerife
Enjoy a trek to the highest point in Lanzarote
Fiesta de la Cruz on La Palma
Gran Canaria’s Other Rock: Sacred Roque Bentayga
A day in the outback of Fuerteventura
Walking to the Beautiful Valley on La Gomera
"Fototrek” an amazing annual photographic adventure in El Hierro
An incredible Whale & Dolphin watching experience in Tenerife
The secret white sand beaches of Lanzarote
On the sunny side: Los Llanos de Aridane
Exploring South Fuerteventura by Car
The Best Bit of Las Canteras Beach is Underwater
La Gomera, lush and beautiful
Paragliding above the valley of El Hierro. What an experience!
Three ways to enjoy Teide in Tenerife
Tasting Lanzarote: Cosecha 2015
La Palma, a taste of the tropics
Jardín Canario Viera y Clavijo, one of the highlights of Gran Canaria
From a Magic Spring to a Secret Lake, Five Curiosities on La Gomera
Jinama and Charco Azul
Amazing boat excursion to the Archipiélago Chinijo marine reserve
Lanzarote sunrises
La Palma: a Treasure Trove of landscapes in One Island
Viewpoint Mirador de la Peña, the smallest hotel of the world and the giant lizard
A Hike Around Gran Canaria's Volcanic Hotspot
Fuerteventura, Strong Wind
La Gomera: A day visiting dolphins and whales
Lanzarote fishing: Fresh fish for lunch
Exploring the Historic Centre of La Laguna
“Ruta de la Tapa” in Valverde
Driving the Las Mimbreras road
Discover the Beautiful North of Lanzarote by Car
Excursion to the Isla de Lobos
La Gomera – a rural tourism paradise
Festival of La Bajada de la Virgen de los Reyes
A morning in Santa Cruz de La Palma
The water route, Valverde and the Bonanza rock
Exploring the San Juan Volcano
Vegueta: Time Travel In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Old Town
Why You Don’t Want to Miss Out on Trekking Masca in Tenerife
Experience Tinajo: Rural traditions and breathtaking natural beauty
A lovely stroll around Villa de Valverde
A Spring Tour Of Gran Canaria
Through the back roads of El Paso
Relaxation and wellbeing, enjoying Lanzarote´s natural treasures
A trip along the coast of El Golfo, El Hierro
Exploring the Highs and Lows of Puerto de Mogán
Why You Will Absolutely Love Exploring Amazing La Graciosa
The Wild North of La Palma
Tenerife, best locations and the British favourite hotspots
Enjoy the best of Lanzarote at Noches de Jameos
Relish the thrill and views of El Faro La Entallada, in Fuerteventura
Menceyes and our Lady of Candelaria, in Tenerife
The Wine Run Lanzarote: food, wine and scenery
Experience the beauty of the pink caves of Puertito de Los Molinos
A Saturday in the beautiful village of Haría, Lanzarote
A must do in Fuerteventura – Picnic in the dunes of Corralejo
Playa San Juan in Tenerife, a charming place
A walk along the El Golfo ridge, El Hierro
The five best places to eat in Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura
A cup of coffee at Casa José Saramago, Lanzarote
Why Forestal Park is One of the Best Experiences in Tenerife
San Sebastián, the high part of Santa Cruz de La Palma
Sunset On The Rocks At Puerto de Mogán in Gran Canaria
A walk from San Andrés to Hoya del Morcillo, El Hierro
Enjoyment for the active traveller – Climb the Volcanic Mount Roja
Teguise: immerse yourself in Lanzarote’s history
How to Enjoy a Stunning Walk in Tenerife from Playa San Juan to Los Gigantes
Tazacorte, in La Palma: more than just a sun trap
Art, Architecture and Frogs in Gran Canaria's Garden City
Carnival time on El Hierro
One of the best family days out in Fuerteventura
Journey to another planet at Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote
From the sea to the sky, a circular drive in South Tenerife
A journey through La Palma’s plant world
Los Carneros de Tigaday, El Hierro
Relaxing Weekend staying in the picture perfect beaches of El Cotillo – Fuerteventura
Lanzarote’s southwest coastline: where ocean meets lava
How to Enjoy North Tenerife and Wine Tasting in One Amazing Trip
A trip around La Palma’s south coast
The Quiet South Gran Canaria Beach With Two Names
What to explore, How to get there and where to stay in San Sebastian the capital of La Gomera.
Relax by the sea in El Tamaduste
The best olive oil in Fuerteventura – Verde Aurora Bio Farm
Hiking in La Geria: a bird’s eye view of the volcanoes
How to Enjoy a Unique Excursion Around Stunning Santa Cruz
El Tablado, La Palma’s remotest settlement
www.hellocanaryislands.com
16 May 2016

When my new husband asked if I was coming to see the crosses that night, I was confused. Surely it was the following morning? But no, my husband explained that Fiesta de la Cruz runs for about 24 hours, from the evening of May 2nd when mostly locals admiring the crosses and all day on May 3rd when it's mostly tourists. That year I tried doing it the way the locals do, and it made for a magical night.

Fiesta de la cruz-La Palma

At 10:30 pm we took a taxi up La Pavona where the party was in full swing. A salsa band played on the small temporary stage and dancers packed the space in front. The night air was full of  happiness and the smell of fried pork. We danced until the smell became irresistible, then bought drinks and fried pork sandwiches from one of the mobile bars. This was definitely better than waiting until the morning. I should have known – the Canarians know how to party.

At midnight we started walking downhill. The new road to San Isidro winds up the steep hill, while the old one goes straight down. I'm sure it used to be a donkey track at one time. And because it's the old road, it's the one with the crosses. Tonight, the traffic is one way, downhill. And since the spring flowers are blooming, the night is perfumed.

For most of the year, they are simple wooden crosses, although some stand in niches. Boy are they different tonight!

Fiesta de la Cruz celebrates the Holy Cross or True Cross. Catholics believe that the Empress Helena, travelled to the Holy Land in A.D. 326–28 where she found the cross used to crucify Jesus on May 3rd. So every year on May 3rd, the people of Santa Cruz de La Palma and the surrounding area celebrate by decorating the roadside crosses. Since this is a Catholic country, there are lots of crosses.

Flowery crosses - La Palma

Each one has a banner across the road: ‘Welcome to’ and the name of the cross. Most have bunting or Spanish and Canarian flags flying. As you get closer, there are small branches from the laurel forest lining the sides of the road, so it smells like a forest. Every now and then, somebody sends up a flurry of small, noisy rockets. The neighbours have usually organised a snug little corner for themselves, sitting around a table with blankets on their shoulders and a bottle of wine and something to nibble in front of them, chatting and usually laughing. Sometimes one person has a guitar and they're singing. They seem to be having a great time, which is good because they'll be there in shifts all night.

Of course in the centre there's the cross itself, usually covered in white silk, with a coloured silk ribbon draped over it, and decorated in gold jewellery. No wonder the neighbours stay close  all night – those are Granny's earrings and necklaces dangling there. And each cross has a little basket for donations towards next year's cross. (Take plenty of change – they're well worth it.) My boyfriend was right – the crosses look much more atmospheric at night. Partly it's the dramatic lighting, but I think it's mostly the party atmosphere.Each cross has been transformed into a work of art and they're amazingly varied. Traditionally, the cross is surrounded by myriad flowers in a geometrical design. More modern crosses get more adventurous, and the neighbours have often worked on it for months. I've seen a painted, starry background with all the planets of the solar system hanging in space. I've seen detailed replicas of Santa Cruz town hall or Christopher Columbus's ship. I think my all-time favourite was a Japanese garden, complete with a shallow pond with live ducks swimming.

Off to one side you'll generally find the cross the children made. Of course these are much simpler, decorated with pasta and sprayed, or wild flowers. Again, they have a basket for donations, because Palmeran children are just as keen on socially acceptable begging as I used to be.

Another innovation is the mayos. These are life-size rag dolls, something like a guy for bonfire night. You often find a couple of them sitting next to the cross, usually an old couple with blankets over their shoulders, sharing a bottle of wine. Yes, a lot like the real humans a few yards away. Sometimes they're part of the decoration around the cross itself, perhaps in local folk costume milking a goat.

Mayos, life-size rag dolls - La Palma

It wasn't such a long walk, but I was carrying my camera bag while my husband lugged the tripod. By the time we got to the bottom of the hill I was shattered, but I had loads of photos and I was very glad I'd made the effort.

Since then, I walk around the crosses at night when I can, although I sometimes I drive around so that I can see more of them. Sometimes I still go on the morning of May 3rd. The lighting is much easier, and I can get a good photo with my compact camera and no tripod. They're still works of art.

There's one particular street in Santa Cruz I almost always visit on May 3rd. There are three crosses, but really I go to see the mayos. They have about a hundred of them altogether along the road which runs from the language school down to the Plaza Alameda, and several make me laugh out loud. Children playing with dolls, women ironing, sewing or collecting the morning bread with curlers in their hair, two men in a dinghy fishing down a manhole. One year they had a whole wedding party: bride and groom, bridesmaids and many guests. Another year they had an entire basketball match. It's amazing to see what they've come up with this year.

May is a great time to visit La Palma because the spring flowers are blooming, but Fiesta de la Cruz makes it unforgettable.

 

Give us your comments

Comments

Highlights
How to Enjoy Carnival on Tenerife
Deserted beach and abandoned salt pans in Lanzarote
La Palma: A Heaven for Stargazing
Experience participating in Transgrancanaria
A Road Trip Around the North of Fuerteventura
A Journey to the end of the World, or to Punta de Orchilla
Diversity on the rocks: Hundreds of unique species
La Gomera, the romantic getaway
Following a Tapas Route on Tenerife
Enjoy a trek to the highest point in Lanzarote
Fiesta de la Cruz on La Palma
Gran Canaria’s Other Rock: Sacred Roque Bentayga
A day in the outback of Fuerteventura
Walking to the Beautiful Valley on La Gomera
"Fototrek” an amazing annual photographic adventure in El Hierro
An incredible Whale & Dolphin watching experience in Tenerife
The secret white sand beaches of Lanzarote
On the sunny side: Los Llanos de Aridane
Exploring South Fuerteventura by Car
The Best Bit of Las Canteras Beach is Underwater
La Gomera, lush and beautiful
Paragliding above the valley of El Hierro. What an experience!
Three ways to enjoy Teide in Tenerife
Tasting Lanzarote: Cosecha 2015
La Palma, a taste of the tropics
Jardín Canario Viera y Clavijo, one of the highlights of Gran Canaria
From a Magic Spring to a Secret Lake, Five Curiosities on La Gomera
Jinama and Charco Azul
Amazing boat excursion to the Archipiélago Chinijo marine reserve
Lanzarote sunrises
La Palma: a Treasure Trove of landscapes in One Island
Viewpoint Mirador de la Peña, the smallest hotel of the world and the giant lizard
A Hike Around Gran Canaria's Volcanic Hotspot
Fuerteventura, Strong Wind
La Gomera: A day visiting dolphins and whales
Lanzarote fishing: Fresh fish for lunch
Exploring the Historic Centre of La Laguna
“Ruta de la Tapa” in Valverde
Driving the Las Mimbreras road
Discover the Beautiful North of Lanzarote by Car
Excursion to the Isla de Lobos
La Gomera – a rural tourism paradise
Festival of La Bajada de la Virgen de los Reyes
A morning in Santa Cruz de La Palma
The water route, Valverde and the Bonanza rock
Exploring the San Juan Volcano
Vegueta: Time Travel In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Old Town
Why You Don’t Want to Miss Out on Trekking Masca in Tenerife
Experience Tinajo: Rural traditions and breathtaking natural beauty
A lovely stroll around Villa de Valverde
A Spring Tour Of Gran Canaria
Through the back roads of El Paso
Relaxation and wellbeing, enjoying Lanzarote´s natural treasures
A trip along the coast of El Golfo, El Hierro
Exploring the Highs and Lows of Puerto de Mogán
Why You Will Absolutely Love Exploring Amazing La Graciosa
The Wild North of La Palma
Tenerife, best locations and the British favourite hotspots
Enjoy the best of Lanzarote at Noches de Jameos
Relish the thrill and views of El Faro La Entallada, in Fuerteventura
Menceyes and our Lady of Candelaria, in Tenerife
The Wine Run Lanzarote: food, wine and scenery
Experience the beauty of the pink caves of Puertito de Los Molinos
A Saturday in the beautiful village of Haría, Lanzarote
A must do in Fuerteventura – Picnic in the dunes of Corralejo
Playa San Juan in Tenerife, a charming place
A walk along the El Golfo ridge, El Hierro
The five best places to eat in Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura
A cup of coffee at Casa José Saramago, Lanzarote
Why Forestal Park is One of the Best Experiences in Tenerife
San Sebastián, the high part of Santa Cruz de La Palma
Sunset On The Rocks At Puerto de Mogán in Gran Canaria
A walk from San Andrés to Hoya del Morcillo, El Hierro
Enjoyment for the active traveller – Climb the Volcanic Mount Roja
Teguise: immerse yourself in Lanzarote’s history
How to Enjoy a Stunning Walk in Tenerife from Playa San Juan to Los Gigantes
Tazacorte, in La Palma: more than just a sun trap
Art, Architecture and Frogs in Gran Canaria's Garden City
Carnival time on El Hierro
One of the best family days out in Fuerteventura
Journey to another planet at Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote
From the sea to the sky, a circular drive in South Tenerife
A journey through La Palma’s plant world
Los Carneros de Tigaday, El Hierro
Relaxing Weekend staying in the picture perfect beaches of El Cotillo – Fuerteventura
Lanzarote’s southwest coastline: where ocean meets lava
How to Enjoy North Tenerife and Wine Tasting in One Amazing Trip
A trip around La Palma’s south coast
The Quiet South Gran Canaria Beach With Two Names
What to explore, How to get there and where to stay in San Sebastian the capital of La Gomera.
Relax by the sea in El Tamaduste
The best olive oil in Fuerteventura – Verde Aurora Bio Farm
Hiking in La Geria: a bird’s eye view of the volcanoes
How to Enjoy a Unique Excursion Around Stunning Santa Cruz
El Tablado, La Palma’s remotest settlement
www.hellocanaryislands.com