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All about the island of La Palma, in the Canaries.

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Monday, 4 May 2009

Photos of Fiesta de la Cruz

My favourite! Of course this is the international year of astronomy.

The kids' cross beside the one above. This is GranTeCan, the (Big Canarian Telescope) which will open this year.

The Centro de Niña Jaubert (a home for mentally handicapped adults) produced this old fashioned cheese factory.

And the cross the handicapped people did by themselves. The decoration is pasta, sprayed gold.

Cruz de la Pasión. At fist I thought the background was needlepoint done in very thick wool. It's actually tiny screws of paper.

And in Santa Cruz, there's a street full of mayos again. We counted 332 of them. This time, the top end is full of Carnival mayos . This is the sardine's funeral. at the real event, some men dress as women. This guy obviously couldn't cope with alcohol and high-heeled shoes together.

Farther down, there's a protest. These are the top politicians on the island, cutting up a cake of La Palma, and the sign reads "And in LA Palma there's 9,000 unemployed."

And a nearby school had mayos too. I wonder if this represents a real person?

And in the afternoon there was a religious procession.

Some of the people following the cross were in clothes that must have been traditional centuries ago.

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Saturday, 2 May 2009

Fiesta de la Cruz Tonight

This is a local fiesta in Santa Cruz and the Breñas, in celebration of the Sacred Cross. As often happens, the main party is the night before the public holiday. The wayside crosses will be beautifully decorated. Since most crosses are hung with gold jewelry (among other things) people stay beside them in shifts all night, and all the next day. Most holidaymakers go and admire the crosses on the morning of the 3rd (Sunday), but the locals go see the crosses starting at about 11 pm the night before, when it's cooler and more atmospheric.

For the last few years, it's been fairly common to have a few mayos or machangos beside the cross. These are giant rag dolls, something like scarecrows or the guys I used to make for bonfire night. Last year, one street in Santa Cruz was full of them.

If you've got a hire car, the best plan is to go up to San Isidro and follow the crowd down the hill. There are crosses all the way along a very steep lane, which used to be a donkey track. Tonight it'll be one-way -- downhill. (You go up the much newer, asphalted road.) As you approach each cross, you'll find a small traffic jam. You go past the cross slowly (usually saying, "Oh wow!") and drive on to the next.

If you haven't got a car, I recommend a stroll around Santa Cruz, particularly up the older bits.

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