The Festes dedicated to La Diada de la Santa Creu are celebrated on May 3rd in various towns around Catalonia, most notably in Figueres, are also known as Les Creus de Maig.
The religious reason for the festival is to commemorate the discovery of the True Cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified by the Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine, who travelled to the Holy Land between AD 326 and 328 founding churches and establishing relief agencies for the poor.
Apparently, while she was there, she found the hiding place of the three crosses of Jesus and the two thieves, Saint Dismas and Gestas, who were crucified with him.
Many churches claim to possess fragments of the True Cross and although their authenticity is questioned, the Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican venerate Helena as a saint.
However, the main reason for the festivities around Catalonia is that La Diada de la Santa Creu falls in May as spring is getting fully underway and the weather is improving.
In many towns, the festival consists of a procession from the parish church to the stones or the cross which marks the town limits, where the parish is blessed and given a floral offering, whilst in other towns the blessing is given from the top of the bell tower.
The Festes dedicated to La Diada de la Santa Creu are celebrated on May 3rd in various towns around Catalonia, most notably Figueres, are also known as Les Creus de Maig.