El Valle pays homage to the Holy Cross
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
The celebration to honor the Holy Cross of El Valle del Maíz is more than the ending and beginning of a cycle, more than a celebration of death and rebirth; the solemn festivities also include plays and dances, music, locos, pyrotechnics, food and many rituals that throughout the years have been preserved and have evolved.
The Royal Rehearsal
On Friday, May 30, at 6pm musicians arrive at the church to sing the tardecitas. At 8:30pm all those involved in the festivity and the devout gather in the church to hold the Ensayo Real, a ritual that consist of asking for permission from the ancestors and God to hold the celebration. The Royal Rehearsal is a procession that leaves from the church, headed by the Pilgrim Holy Cross, featuring dancers, music, mogigangas—giant puppets—locos and more.
On Saturday, May 31, the fiesta continues with the Alborada, an hour’s worth of fireworks.
At 5pm the same day, a procession featuring dancers, demons and mojigangas leaves el Valle and goes to the west side of Plaza Real del Conde, where after a noisy explosion a battle between soldiers and dancers starts.
This mock battle is also a way to remember the conquest of the natives by the Spanish. The celebration continues later in el Valle with all kinds of dances.
Sunday parade and the greased pole
On Sunday, June 1, at noon a parade featuring dancers, locos, mojigangas, floats and music leaves from El Valle toward the historic center. The parade ends in El Valle, where there are dances all day long.
On Saturday and Sunday of the festivity a greased six-meter-high pole is erected, from which hang a variety of prizes, ranging from food to appliances and even plants. These articles are a reward for those who are brave enough to attempt to climb the pole and get dirty.
On Sunday at 6:30pm there is an event called entrance of the parandes, offerings with all kinds of cakes placed on rectangular structures and adorned with colorful flowers made of paper.
At 7pm, a play called The Hidden Treasure is performed, this end the next day at 7am.