But for the devotees in Santa Cruz Xochitepec, theirs is not just another cross. According to one local legend, a convict fleeing pursuers in 1890 found a cross on the hill and believed it spared him from getting caught.

Dozens of men strained and struggled as they hefted a huge cross adorned with colorful ribbons and trudged down a steep hill in a yearly ceremony of the Day of the Cross celebrated in the Mexico City neighborhood of Santa Cruz Xochitepec, reports AP.

The ceremony on the Cerro de Xochitepec came a day before the formal day on the church calendar, Tuesday, when the cross is the centerpiece of a Mass and a new one is adorned for a return trek up the hill in a week.

The cross has stood sentinel over the city’s south side even as what was once a village was swallowed by metropolis’ urban sprawl. The importance of the huge, fabric-draped cross to locals is reflected in the town’s very name, which means ’Holy Cross of the Flowered Hill.”In a babel of voices, and after three failed attempts, dozens of local volunteers known as “cargadores,” or carriers, managed to lower the 23-foot (7-meter) tall cross from its perch and carry it all the way down to the local church.

It is a cycle that has been going on for decades and perhaps centuries.

 

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