The May Pilgrimage

The May Romerias is a Christian festival that constitutes a tradition of the City of Holguin which ended in sumptuous meals and long libations...

In 1752, when Holguin obtained the title of City, the first Lieutenant Governor arrived in this city and with him five Franciscan religious, among them the Friar Antonio Joseph Alegre, popularly Alegría, who climbed a cross to the Bayado hill or as it is well known by La Loma de La Cruz, on May 3, 1790, so that the City of Holguin could be observed from different points, the Spanish custom of placing a cross in the highest places near towns in order to avoid epidemics, curses or natural disasters.

Immediately the citizens began to climb the hill and pray to the cross to grant them miracles and on May 3 each year the town of Holguin begins the Las Romerias de Mayo.

Like all festivities, Las Romerias de Mayo are also the result of a spontaneous social manifestation based on the feelings of the people of Holguin and in them there is always a part of tradition, culture, entertainment and religion.

In the City of Holguin during the May Romerias the people left in a procession from the Church of San Isidoro and headed to La Loma de La Cruz and on the cross the mass was celebrated and then the party began that lasted until the next day. Later, the Catholic holiday transcended and other beliefs adopted it until it became a popular festival.

Later, to give greater splendor to Las Romerias de Mayo and improve access to the cross, Oscar Albanés Carballo, President of the Catholic Knights, proposed building a staircase, a fact that currently distinguishes the City of Holguin.

To achieve this goal, festivals were held to raise funds and for 23 years the 458 steps were built and finally inaugurated, an oratory made up of a small balcony-shaped square and the cross on top of a pedestal like an altar, the strong and a roundabout was made, on May 3, 1950.

Nowadays, and since 1994, the May Pilgrims have resurfaced due to the enthusiasm of young people from the “Hermanos Saíz” Association to unite the new with the old, and make their motto “Because there is no today without yesterday” a reality.

The May Romerias currently begin with the beautiful parade of cars from the central park of the City of Holguin to the Bosque de los Héroes at twelve at night and the next morning the inaugural parade, which drags the entire town of Holguin, and they take with them El Hacha de Holguin, and concludes with a concert at the top of Loma de la Cruz.

Simply put, all of Holguin is celebrating until the 8th at night when they lower El Hacha de Holguin and raise it to the tallest building in the new part of the City of Holguin, and plant a tree so that this tradition continues to grow.

Every year in the month of May with Las Romerias de Mayo, tradition and modernity are combined to turn the City of Holguin into the Capital of Young Art, presenting a sample of the most representative of national and international culture, in addition to the best projects of the “Hermanos Saíz” Association from each province of Cuba.

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