On May 3rd the celebration of the “Green Cross” is a VERY traditional celebration in Patzcuaro. It’s full of color, music, joy, and dance. It’s a day of celebration and activities with roots in the “Cruz Verde” neighborhood, that culminates with wonderful fireworks - visible from many communities - in the evening.
This important day starts early on the morning of May 3, with celebrations of birthdays, communions, blessings of crosses, and masses.
The origins of the “Green Cross” date from the days of Don Vasco de Quiroga. This cross was hewn by the indigineous. At first, it was called just the “Missionary’s Cross,” but later on, people realized that the “green cross” never turned to hard wood, as would be expected. So it was called the Green Cross.
Once this peculiar quality was noted, the cross was displayed in what is now Cruz Verde Street, and the current chapel was built to honor it.
It is said that vendors from the various islands of Pátzcuaro brought their wares to the main market (Plaza Vasco de Quiroga). But first, they brought their flowers, fruits, vegetables, and fish, etc., to the church where this special cross was housed, praying that they might have a “good day at the market.” And in return for the favors previously bestowed, the vendors provided offerings of their wares at the cross.
The market that followed – which could have been viewed from Mansion Iturbe itself centuries ago! – was a very lively, festive affair, with music and dance – Nowadays you can still see this festivity from our balconies and you can even see a Purepecha weddings representation at this parade.
It was also a custom for growers to participate in the procession. From their carts, they threw some of their crop into the crowd to celebrate their prosperity. That tradition continues to this day on May 3, when such things are tossed from the second floor of the Mayor’s office into the hands of the expectant citizens below. (May 3 is the traditional day for planting crops.)
Come and participate in the centuries-old fiesta of the Green Cross – another part of the rich tradition of Pátzcuaro!
We appreciate the photographic collaboration of Miguel Angel Mandujano
*Text & Pictures property of Hotel Mansión Iturbe.
HOTEL MANSION ITURBE
Portal Morelos 59
Plaza Vasco de Quiroga
61600 Pátzcuaro, Michoacán
Tels: +52 (434) 342 0368 / 342 3628
Fax: +52 (434) 342 3627
Toll Free Fax number: 1-866 678 6102
Amadeus: ON MLMMAN
Sabre: ON 16297
Galileo: ON 24977