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Festivities of the Holy Cross

By Jade Arroyo

May 3 is popularly known as the party day for constructions workers, who would interrupt their labours, make improvised altars and build a cross with building leftovers. At noon they celebrate with a special meal (mole, carnitas, tacos and other specialities). During this day, the construction place becomes the party’s venue. From that day anda long May the festivities in the honourof the Holy Cross are developted in different neighbourhoods and rural communities. One of the most famous ones is the one at El Valle del Maíz, here the cultural week is from 26 trhu 29 and 30 and 31 and June 1 is the big party. We present you a little history of this tradition.

Celebrations around the community

According to the book Fiestas y Tradiciones de San Miguel de Allende, in San Miguel, the main celebration of the Holy Cross is in Puerto de Calderón, on May 3, and during May the four oldest neighborhoods each have their own celebrations: the first Sunday of May in Guadiana, the second in Ojo de Agua, the third in La Palmita and the fourth in Valle del Maíz. Puerto de Calderón is the place where the statue of the Lord of the Conquest is supposed to have been found. From May 2 to 3, there is an all-night vigil at this place located on thee road to Celaya.

The celebrations in the neighborhoods begin in Guadiana, because it was the first neighborhood to be founded when the population moved from its original settlement in San Miguel Viejo. The word “Guadiana”, of Arabic origin, means “river that runs down,” referring to the stream coming down from El Chorro. Ojo de Agua is named so because when it was founded, there was a spring in the place where the chapel and the cross were built.

The festivities of the Holy Cross end in Valle del Maíz, with pre-Hispanic dances by groups of the same neighborhood, theater and elaboration of xúchiles (offerings made of a wild local plant called “cucharilla”. The main objective of the festival is to give thanks for all the blessings received during the past year and to ask for a good rainy season and good harvest.

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