Festival de Las Cruzes

(Cross at the Museum of the Mujer Gitana)

Last week people all over town built alters in the street with giant red crosses as the centerpiece. I asked several people what holy day they were celebrating and an eight year old girl in a flamenco dress told me that it was celebrating the day that Saint Helena found Jesus's cross.
I had no idea who saint Helena was so I looked her up on wikipedia. She was the faithful Christian mother of Constantine.

The story goes like this, Emperor Constantine was confronted by the barbarians who had a much larger and more powerful army everyone thought it would be impossible for Constantine to win.   He had a vision a a cross in the sky and under it the words ¨with this sign you shall be victorious¨.  He followed his vision and raised the cross in front of his army and they won the battle with miraculous ease. In response to this miracle  Constantine was baptised and constructed churches all across his empire.
He sent his beloved mother, Saint Helena, to Jerusalem to find Christ's "true cross". She summoned the wisest priests she could find and went to Calvary hill where she found three planks of bloody wood all claiming to be the true cross. She tested the wood by placing it over the bodies of the sick and dead. Legend has it the she had found the true cross of Christ and it healed the sick and resurrected the dead. The Spanish festival of Las Cruzes on May 3rd and 4th is celebrating this miracle.

(Cross outside one old man´s house in the Albyzine)

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