The 3rd of May is the Feast of the Holy Cross, a very old feast of the Church. It is celebrated in Spain with very ornate flowery crosses. In Anglican usage it was celebrated with the lovely name of “Roodmas”; Rood being another name for the cross. Hence “roodscreen,” the ornate separation between the nave and the sanctuary in pre-Reformation churches, with the Crucifixion in a central position.
The feast celebrates the “Invention” of the Cross – inventio in Latin meaning the discovery – and it refers to the finding of the true cross by Saint Helena on 3rd May 355. The cross had not been used by Christians in the earliest days, as it took the faithful several centuries to come to terms with the horror of the crucifixion. The discovery of the true cross was the start of the rehabilitation of the cross as a symbol, and theologically the beginning of a new understanding of the place of the cross in the economy of salvation. (I don’t usually venture too far into these matters, and I have probably already said enough wrong things to have theologians queuing up to shoot down this blogpost, were it not for the happy circumstance that no theologians read my blog.)
Anyway, it’s only a blog about donkey-assisted flower arranging, so we don’t want to encourage too much heated theological discussion. Here in Spain the Feast of the Cross is the occasion for the Good Ladies of the Parish to create elaborate floral displays. These days they post their photos of the floral crosses on the parish Whatsapp group (which is the only way to see them during the COVID-19 lock down) and of course it all gets very competitive.
Newcomers are not really appreciated, particularly if they are using unorthodox methods (donkeys, wild flowers, Franciscan spirituality, etc.) but Rubí and I had a nice afternoon going out finding our wild flowers and making our floral cross for the El Parral hermitage. The donkeys are very appreciative of this kind of art because it is entirely edible. Happy Roodmas.
A spokeswoman for the Good Ladies of the Parish said, “No, we don’t do it like that. Ever.”
The Peasant fails again. Thank goodness for lock down, eh? At least they don’t have to see it.