D'a de la Santa Cruz

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D’a de la Santa Cruz (Day of the Holy Cross)

May 3
The Day of the Holy Cross, known elsewhere as the Exaltation of the Cross, is an important one throughout Latin America. Crosses that are normally found in the churches are repaired and repainted, or decorated and carried in procession through the streets.
In Mexico the Day of the Holy Cross is primarily observed by miners, masons, and construction workers. They make elaborately decorated crosses and place them on buildings where they are working. Anyone who is constructing a new building is obligated to throw a party for the workers on this day. Fireworks are set off, and the occasion is treated as a fiesta.
In Peru, Indians hold an all-night vigil on May 2, watching over the wooden crosses they have collected from the churches, roadsides, and mountaintops. The next morning, the crosses are taken to church for the priest's blessing.
In the Andes, the Day of the Cross celebrations have taken the place of the ancient Inca ceremonies known as Aymuray. In Guatemala, too, the Day of the Cross has replaced an annual pilgrimage to Lake Amatitlán for the purpose of fulfilling certain fertility rites. After the Spanish Conquest, the Spanish priests took advantage of this huge gathering to establish their own Christian celebration. The contemporary festival held in the village of Amatitlán on May 2 and 3 revolves around Indian dancing, music, and water sports as well as prayers and church services.
In Venezuela, the celebration is known as Velorio de Cruz . People set up special altars in their homes that include crosses, lighted candles, and images of the saints. Roving musicians and poets from all over the country come to perform in front of these altars. While playing their instruments, they improvise rhymed couplets and other poetic forms.
CONTACTS:
Commission for the Promotion of Peru
Calle Uno Oeste No. 50, piso 13th
Urb. Corpac
Lima, 27 Peru
51-1-4224-3131; fax: 51-1-224-7134
www.promperu.gob.pe
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, p. 76
BkFest-1937, p. 228
BkFestHolWrld-1970, p. 93
BkHolWrld-1986, May 3
FiestaTime-1965, p. 87
References in periodicals archive ?
Today Orthodox Christians mark the day of the Holy Cross called in Bulgaria aKrastovdena.
Orthodox Christians in Bulgaria celebrate the day of the Holy Cross on September 14, which is said to spell the end of the summer and the settling of the autumn.