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Los Mayos

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Fiesta declarada de Interés Turístico Nacional.

Further information in Spanish in this website, and in English in this other website.: 

HISTORY OF THE FESTIVITY.

EL MAYO (The May) is a tradition associated with the time when the land is ready to offer its new crop, contributing with its rites and ceremonies to enhancing it.

Its origin is lost in time, as it is one deeply rooted custom in the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula.

In the Region of Murcia, if we refer to the old chronicles of festivities, on the night of the Mayos, young men engaged to serenade and decorate with flowers young women’s houses and church doors. But the most enduring custom is that, upon completion of Lent, they placed on rooftops and balconies the "viejos” (“old ones”), bizarrely dressed dolls. In some towns, these were also placed the night preceding San Juan, in others, the morning of Holy Saturday and used to complete the festivity by burning these dolls along the city hubbub. In Alhama de Murcia, few data remains that popular knowledge has been able to bring about this ancient custom. The elderly still rememberhow in the dawn of the first day of May, the town settled dolls in doorways and corners, to remain exposed all day and removed at night.

These dolls were called Mayos, dolls made ​​of fabric stuffed with straw, leaves, wool, rags, etc. and dressed in old cloths from the house, adhering exactly to the concept of dummy dolls. They painted them faces to give them human traits, also with a hat if it was a male figure, and with a headscarf tied under the chin if it was a female figure.

Until the Civil War, this tradition remained with certain authenticity, Los Mayos, almost even disappeared from the streets, falling to very sporadic appearances during the decades of the sixties and seventies of last century.

In 1982, the City Council of Alhama de Murcia agreed to recover the festivity that will be held thereafter the first Sunday of May. Since 1984, the City Council of Alhama de Murcia, through the Councils of Festivities, Tourism and Culture, organizes the festivity of LOS MAYOS. In 1990 the festivity was declared of Regional Tourist Interest, which serves as recognition of the effort of a town to preserve the cultural heritage in addition to a new motivation for greater participation of residents and visitors also incentivized by granting prizes, split into three categories: the most original, the most traditional, the most criticizing. In 2018, the Fiesta has been declared of National Tourist Interest.

THE FIESTA NOWADAYS

The Fiesta de Los Mayos, declared of National Tourist Interest, is held on the first weekend of May. The "mayos" or "rag dolls" recreate traditional, original or critical scenes. On Saturday  afternoon and the whole Sunday, neighbours place these “mayos” with satirical explanations written in verse, and residents and visitors walk around them, dressed in a "corremayos" costume, similar to jesters. On Saturday afternoon the "corremayos" participate in a colourful parade. On Sunday, in another lively parade, the "corremayos" visit all the "mayos" and Crosses of May paticipating in the competition,  and several complementary activities are carried out, such as a craft market, the meeting of "cuadrillas" (folk music groups), etc.

The programme is full of other activities such as the National Folklore Festival, music concerts, workhops, tourist train, "paella" competition, meeting of Custom Bikers, so and so.

 

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