In the month of May the city of Granada get dress up to the nines to give way to one of its most colorful festivities: “Las Cruces de Mayo de Granada” (The May Crosses of Granada). Celebrated on the 3rd of May, it marks day of the Cross and is an opportunity for all Grenadians and tourists to wonder the streets and stumble upon the adorned far corners of the city. In this blog post we want to tell you what this party is all about and where you can stay to squeeze out the best from your time. Let’s go!
What is the May Crosses of Granada?
“Las Cruces de Mayo de Granada” is a popular festival dating back to the seventeenth century. In the year 1625 a cross made of alabaster (is a smooth mineral rock used for carving) was made in the neighborhood of San Lazaro. The locals came together to celebrate the beauty artwork by rejoicing in the streets by singing and dancing. Later, this tradition spread to some of the most picturesque neighborhoods around such as the Albaicín and the Realejo.
The official name of this celebration is the “invención de la Santa Cruz” (Invention of the Holy Cross) commemorating the discovery by Saint Helena of the remains of the cross in which they crucified Christ. History tells us that the origin of this tradition is actually pagan, that is, pre-Christian.
During the festivales, the residents of Granada place a cross formed by flowers in a space of their neighborhood which is usually the square or a patio, so that the passers-by can gaze on in contemplation. You’ll find the city decorated and filled with arts and crafts, flowers and any other adornment that may brighten up the area.The locals offer refreshments and have their musicing playing enticing visitors to an impromptu boogie.
In Granada the crosses of May are divided into four categories: Squares and streets, Showcases, Patios and Schools. The prize for the best patio is up to 4,000 euros.
In addition, there are three other details associated with the May Crosses of Granada:
- “EL Pero y las Tijeras” (The But and the Scissors): in Granada, as in other parts of Andalusia, it is called the Golden Apple. This tradition consists of placing scissors nailed to the cross so that nobody puts a “but” to the decoration.
- “las salaíllas y las habas tiernas” (saltwort plant and the tender beans): these foods are never left at this party and are on the aperitif menu and yes obviously accompanied with sweet or white wine.
- “Las Barras” (The bars): a fundamental at every party and festivals you’ll find an abundance of drinks and snacks available from.
What is there to do at the May Crosses?
During the May Crosses of Granada you will be surprised to see how the neighborhoods of the city decorate their city, full of crosses and adorned with colourful flowers. The most visited areas are those found in the courtyards and streets of the Albaicín and Realejo neighborhoods. Both are known not only for this celebration, but also the most beautifully historic areas in Granada but also due to having some of the most impressive views of the area.
In fact, Albaicín is one of the most visited lookouts in the city, where San Nicolás is located. From this enclave you can gaze out over the Alhambra and the Generalife in all their splendor with the Sierra Nevada as the backdrop. We recommend that you go during sunset, as it is at night that the area truly comes alive and you get to witness the entire complex of the old Nasrid illuminated. If you still don’t know which places to visit in Granada during your visit, check out our post on not what to miss out on.
In addition to visiting the crosses scattered about, you can also tantalise your taste buds with some of the most traditional dishes in Granadas cuisine. To accompany these canapes, you have several options, from soft drinks, beer, red wine, wine Sherry wine to rebujito (white wine sherry spritzer).
All undoubtedly accompanied by rumbas and sevillanas (spanish dancing) as a party wouldn’t be a party in Granada if it were not for the flamenco. However, not worry Granada caters for all so you’ll find other alternatives for lovers of indie music or rock. In Granada you will find many places playing this style of music that close late at night.
Where should we stay at Granada Cruces de Mayo in festival?
As we have indicated, one of the most vibrant neighborhoods throughout this celebration of crosses is in the Realejo. This district is ideal if you want to stay during this celebration in Granada. At Inn Hostels we have private rooms, shared rooms and apartments in this quaint neighborhood. In addition, it is very close to the bus station, a plus if you are visiting the city without a car.
Inn Hostels Granada
With Inn Hostels you have the possibility to stay in the city with your friends in shared rooms or with your partner in a private room. You decide how you want to spend your vacation. We have a 24-hour reception service, free breakfast for our guests and a team of professionals available to answer any query you have about places to visit, areas of interest and of course places to eat.
For those who want to get know more about the city during their stay, every morning we organize a free tour for all our guests at around 10:30 am; a visit through the most traditional neighborhoods of Granada which approximately lasts for 2 hours.
Apartaments en Granada
Our apartments located in the Realejo neighborhood have a capacity of up to 8 people. This is a great option if you come to the city with your family or friends, or if you want to spend some time here with all essential amenities. They have a fully equipped kitchen, cleaning service, flat TV, bathroom accessories, air conditioning, towel, etc.
We offer a late check out service, discounts and welcome gifts whenever you book through our website.
If you want to visit Granada by staying in the heart of the city, you just have to book with Inn Hostels. We don’t have words, only experiences.