The arrival of May also sees several decorated crosses appear through the old town, many of them made from colourful flowers. Each year, the mayorales, who are residents (always male) who are selected annually to represent the fiesta, are responsible for placing crosses outside their homes. Planning takes months; professional designers are often tasked with creating a stunning visual image to outdo others. The cost is phenomenal, usually more than 2,000 euros, and the dedication to put together such beautiful creations is admirable, although quite often neighbours muck in to help out, spending hours sticking on flowers and plants so that the cross is ready for its reveal.
The origin of such a tradition seems to be another adoption of ancient festivities by the Christian faith during the conversion of Europe. Amongst the many rituals, the festival of Flora, the Roman Goddess of flowers and the season of spring was celebrated between April 28 and May 3 and symbolized the renewal of the cycle of life after a long winter. Such traditions were brought to the Iberian peninsula during occupation by the Romans and quite possibly adapted after the conversion of Emperor Constantine I in the 4th century and the supposed discovery of the 'True Cross' in Jerusalem by his mother Saint Helena. She is said to have died praying for all Christians to commemorate the day that the 'True Cross' was found whilst other sources suggest that the tradition celebrates the rescue of the 'Cross' from the Persians in 628AD.
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