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Alhama de Murcia celebrates on the 5th and 6th of May the XXXVI edition of its most authentic festival: Los Mayos (02/04/2018)

Los Mayos is a unique celebration of the municipality of Alhama de Murcia that is celebrated on the first Sunday of May (except when it coincides with the 1st of the month, which is moved to the following Sunday).

Its origin is lost in time and there are no written references known until the decade of the 20s of the last century.

After the Civil War and for more than 40 years disappeared for its critical aspect.

It was in 1982 when the Plenary of the City Council of Alhama de Murcia agreed to recover the party.

Thus, a tradition related to the arrival of spring, the rebirth of the fields, the floral decorations and the crosses of May was recovered.

Since 1990 it has been declared of Regional Tourist Interest and this year it has obtained the title of National Tourist Interest.

It consists of the placement, at the door of the houses, of wimps dressed in old clothes and the face painted with human features.

It is what is called the planted.

Traditionally it consisted of "planting" (placing) at the dawn of the first Sunday of May some puppets on the doors of houses, squares, corners or public gardens, and remove them at nightfall, dawning Alhama de Murcia with very special visitors.

However, since 2016 that planting takes place on Saturday afternoon to allow them to be visited throughout the weekend.

The City Council places private security because in many cases the decoration includes old and valuable utensils.

Such puppets are called Mayos, dolls that are made of cloth, as in the past, and which are filled with straw, leaves, wool, rags, etc., characterizing them with modern and contemporary objects and clothing, surrounded by tools from another era.

Special care is taken in the faces and costumes to characterize the characters of the scenes, conferring human appearance.

The Mayos represent a specific situation that one wants to parody or imitate, and the characters express themselves through dialogues written in verse expressed in posters called cartels.

The basic themes are usually two: folklorists, who recreate old vanished trades that were typical of Alhama, and critics, with the representation of scenes from everyday life, usually treated with humor, satire and with sharpness, which reveal problems or specific current issues.

Those Mayos who represent traditional or traditional scenes recover and show clothes, equipment and complements already in disuse, such as zaragüelles, tools, tools and tricks, turning the streets of Alhama into a real ethnographic museum.

A Mayo is not a single puppet, but must compose a scene and, as in its origin, must carry a card that collects the message you want to convey to understand the scene or simply recognize the character.

Especially in the Mayos that represent traditional scenes, the posters recover words, idioms and expressions typical of Alhama de Murcia and the Region, usually in verse.

The contest of Mayos awards prizes to the three best and distinctions in the categories of critic, original and traditional, as well as the introduction of a special prize for schools since Alhama City Council is giving great importance to the maintenance of the tradition.

Through the Department of Education, the schools hold workshops Mayos development within the program of leisure activities and free time 'One more time'.

In 1984, the figure of the Corremayos, people of all ages, dressed in harlequin costumes with multicolored rhombuses joined the party. With the cheerful sound of their rattles, they go through the Mayos, visiting them one by one.

It is usual that there is a table where cascaruja (dried fruit) and a flat of wine are offered.

One of the highlights of the party, the parade of Corremayos, is held on the eve of Los Mayos day (Saturday night).

It begins with the appointment of Corremayo Mayor at the door of City Hall, a figure created in 2004 that recognizes the work of a person or an entity in the promotion or dissemination of the party.

This year he has gone to the Alhameño Javier García, Doctor in Communication and professor at the University of Murcia, whose selfless work of advice has helped to achieve the declaration of National Tourist Interest.

After that, the corremayos participate in a night parade singing, dancing and jumping behind a mobile stage where, for several years, Malvariche has played live, a local folk group with a broad musical career.

A parade that has grown dramatically every year, breaking records of participation and which is currently approaching 10,000 people.

On Sunday the Corremayos tour, accompanied by brass bands and gangs, all Mayos arranged in different streets and squares of the municipality.

At the end of the tour, the City Council offers all the people dressed as Corremayos a giant paella.

The Mayos: an inheritance that is not lost

With the celebration of the Mayos festival on the weekend of May 5 and 6, the municipality of Alhama de Murcia offers all its neighbors and visitors numerous activities that invite to participate in the celebrations and live their traditions.

For the City Council to value The Mayos is a commitment acquired so that this heritage is never lost.

The participation of the neighbors is promoted and efforts are made to sow in the children the essence of the celebration and to be worthy guardians of their customs.

The wimps or rag dolls that represent Los Mayos are products of the creativity and good work of the neighbors, characters with human shape painted and decorated that recreate critical scenes and customs of Bajo Guadalentín.

Both young and old learn this technique, inherited from parents to children, thanks to the workshops taught by the expert Mayan Simón García.

This year the youngest are protagonists of the party, because in addition to learning the technique of confection of puppets, they can attend numerous make-up workshops and stilts to go out on the street, together with their families, dressed in Corremayos.

The offer of activities is so wide that there is always a moment to enjoy something different.

Music lovers have seen the Festival Folk since 2016, which is now in its eighteenth edition, as well as concerts and musical tributes that invite to dance and go out on the street.

They can also attend the XXV National Folklore Festival and admire the cheerful rhythms of the brass bands and the art of the gangs.

Motorcycle enthusiasts live another year Custom concentration in Alhama, after celebrating its XXV anniversary in 2017, being one of the most important in the country, with a celebration in which there will be fun, humor and food.

Any corner of Alhama keeps surprises.

Neighbors and tourists can visit Los Mayos on foot, by bike -an activity that began in 2016- or by tourist train, as well as being invited to participate in the numerous activities organized for the following weekend: sports, with the celebration of the Deportimayos, outdoor painting, medieval market, exhibitions or local gastronomy.

At the foot of the castle, they may meet soldiers from the 13th century recreating their history, as dramatized guided visits are made during the festival.

Everything is a matter of being in Alhama de Murcia on May 5th and 6th.

Source: Ayuntamiento de Alhama de Murcia

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