We got lucky in Cordoba…and by lucky I mean we got three awesome fiestas for the price of one! We traveled to Cordoba for the Fiesta de los Patios…but what I didn’t realize is that the first week of May also coincides with Los Cruces de Mayo and the Battle of the Flowers. If you’re not sure when to visit Cordoba I would highly recommend early May…not only is the weather perfect, but you won’t want to miss these special events!
Fiesta de los Patios – Festival of the Patios
I loved attending the La Fiesta de los Patios in Cordoba! The fiesta de los patios is an annual competition (originally started in 1921) where neighbours compete to win the title of the most beautiful patio in the city. Over the years the reputation of these beautiful Cordobés patios has spread from Spain to all over of Europe and as a result thousands of people travel to the city every May to see them.
This past year there were six different rutas or routes; neighborhoods containing groups of patios participating in the contest. The competition officially starts in the beginning of May and lasts one week. We arrived in Cordoba on Saturday and the competition began that Monday – you have to pay to see some of the routes if you go before the contest kicks off but I think it’s worth it because there are fewer people around and you’ll have the chance to get some great photos.
Cruces de Mayo – Crosses of May
The Cruces de Mayo is a religious celebration, city-wide fiesta and contest all rolled into one event. The May Crosses festival lasts 4 days and takes place at the end of April/beginning of May – usually on the Sunday closest to May 1st(May 3rd is Día de la Santa Cruz). The official contest began in 1953, but the tradition of decorating crosses dates back to the 18th century.
This year there were 52 crosses in Cordoba; the crosses are quite large (3 meters/10 feet tall) and are decorated with flowers, potted plants, shawls, etc. by neighborhood associations and brotherhoods. The crosses are judged based on specific criteria such as the decoration of the cross itself, floral variety used, lighting, the use of existing environmental elements (trees, walls, etc.) – and at the end of the festival the winners are named by the local city hall. At each cross you’ll also find temporary bars where people can buy tapas, drinks and dance Sevillanas – just like at feria! Most of the crosses are located in the San Basilio, San Andrés, Santa Marina and San Agustín neighborhoods as well as other areas in the city center. After you visit the patios in the morning head to one of the crosses for lunch and rebujitos (typical drink at feria which consists of fino/sherry and Sprite).
Batalla de las Flores – Battle of the Flowers
Another event that happens this time of year is the “Battle of the Flowers” – an annual parade wherein locals welcome spring by decorating parade floats with flowers and dressing up in matching Sevillanas or gypsy dresses – the floats pass through the center of town while occupants throw flowers (140,000 carnations to be exact) at people in the street below (and people throw flowers back!). The parade takes place on the last Sunday of April and starts at 12:00 PM in the afternoon.
One other May event you’ll want to see in Cordoba is the Feria de Nuestra Señora de Salud! This feria happens every year during the last week of May; I haven’t been to Cordoba’s feria yet – it’s on my list of things to do so maybe next year I’ll have a post for you 😉 Between the patios, the cruces, the flower battles and Feria – May is definitely the best time of year to visit this beautiful Andalucian city!