The 2nd May (dos de mayo) is a Spanish public holiday which marks the celebration of the autonomous community of Madrid. The Madrid region of Spain became an autonomous community on 1st March 1983, and has been celebrated on 2nd May each year since then.
A double celebration, the 2nd May also marks the anniversary of the 1808 uprising of the people of Madrid against the French troops who had occupied much of Spain earlier that year.
On 23rd March 1808 Napoleon’s army took occupation of Madrid, following the forced abdication of King Carlos IV in favour of his son Fernando VII.
On the 2nd May of the same year, the ‘madrileños’ rebelled against the French occupation and the war for Spanish independence against Napoleon began, lasting until 17th April 1814 when the Spaniards finally regained control over their capital city.
Dos de Mayo is celebrated all around Spain, but particularly in Madrid, with Bull fights, open air activities, street parties and police and military parades. Many people gather around the Plaza del Dos de mayo in Madrid to eat, drink and socialise with friends and family.
Another fiesta taking place in Spain this week is Día de la cruz, also known as Fiesta de las cruces and Cruz de Mayo. This is a religious celebration which takes place on the 3rd May every year in and around Granada in Andalucia.
Crosses are decorated with flowers and hung or paraded around plazas in Spanish towns and cities, mainly in the region of Andalucia. Spaniards gather in the streets to join in the parades, dance sevillanas (flamenco style dance from Seville), and eat and drink with friends and family.
As well as decorating the cross, another common tradition is to stick an open pair of scissors into an apple. The Spanish for apple is ‘manzana’ but in Andalucia an apple is also known as ‘pero’, meaning ‘but’. The reason for doing this is to ensure that no one can criticise the decorated crosses by using the word ‘but’ (E.g. The flowers are beautiful, but…). By putting an open pair an scissors into an apple, they are cutting out the word ‘but’.
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Felices fiestas to you all!