The Crosses of May and the Patios Festival of Córdoba

Some places have a special time of the year where they bloom and shine brighter than ever. This is the case of the historic Córdoba (World Heritage City) and the month of May. The inhabitants of Córdoba concentrate all the joy and hospitality that characterize the Andalusian essence in the fifth month of the year. During these days, the people of Córdoba wear festive costumes to celebrate a series of events and traditions. This way, the month of May highlights the beauty of the city even more. The Crosses of May, the Patios Contest, the Montilla-Moriles Wine Tasting and the Nuestra Señora de la Salud Fair, in this order, overflow the colourful streets of Córdoba in May.

Córdoba blooms in May

Córdoba blooms in May. | Shutterstock

First events begin the first week of the month with the Crosses of May or the Battle of the Flowers. The floats that go out in procession are decorated with flowers, Manila shaws and multicoloured quilts. It became a contest in 1953. Cruces de San Basilio, San Andrés and San Agustín are some of the most popular areas to enjoy the festivity.

May in Córdoba: a display of crosses and flowers

The Crosses of May

Crosses of May in Córdoba

Crosses of May in Córdoba, 1990. | Wikimedia

The celebration of the Crosses of May has a religious nature. As its name suggests, the “Cruz de Mayo” is focused on the Christian cross, and it is held every year on the 3rd May. People place crosses decorated with flowers all over the city, in streets and squares. Córdoba is the epicentre of this tradition in Spain, but it also takes place in other cities in Andalusia and in Latin America too. 

The beautiful street Calleja de las Flores in Córdoba

The beautiful street Calleja de las Flores in Córdoba. | Shutterstock

Catholic brotherhoods and neighbourhood associations that decorate the crosses open bars in the streets where tapas and drinks are sold. Live concerts enlighten the nights while decorated carriages cross the city, and one can get lost in the vibrant atmosphere of the Andalusian city.

The Patios Festival

Traditional patio with flowers in Córdoba

Traditional patio with flowers in Córdoba. | Shutterstock

The Patios Contest takes place in the middle of May. It is sponsored by the City Council, and its roots date back to 1918. The event is closely related to the local architecture and indoor courtyards that most of the buildings have. Since Roman times, the typical houses of Córdoba were designed around a courtyard in order to mitigate the dry and hot climate. Later, the Muslims added a porch decorated with abundant vegetation that cooled down the interior. It allowed the entry from the street through the courtyard, which had a fountain or a well to collect rainwater. 

Although the patios are taken care of throughout the year, the owners decorate them with flowers for the competition. They dispute the award to the ‘Most beautiful courtyard’ given by the City Council. At the same time, there is a great variety of performances that welcome the greatest singers and dancers.

During the days the contest takes place, you can visit both public and private patios. We recommend you the Viana’s Palace, a 14th century building known as the ‘Museum of the Courtyards’. It has twelve courtyards to visit, as well as those of the ‘Círuclo de la Amistad’ and the Faculty of Law. There are also patios in religious buildings such as the convents of the Encarnación, Santa Isabel de los Ángeles, Capuchinas, Santa Cruz, Jesús Crucificado and the Corpus Christi.

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