Festivity of the Crosses or the Festivity of the Castle
Every year in May, Monsanto celebrates the Festivity of the Crosses, also known as the Festivity of the Castle, that recalls the local population’s heroic resistance to a siege.
According to tradition, the population sought refuge in the castle in the second century B.C., and resisted a siege by the Romans during 7 years. In order to convince the enemy that they would never surrender as a result of hunger, they decided to throw a heifer down the mountain slope, that they claimed had been fed on leftovers. This strategy fooled the attackers and led them to end the siege.
The inhabitants of the village recall this episode on May 3 [the day of the Holy Cross] or on the following Sunday. They ascend to the castle, singing and dancing to the sound of tambourines, and then once perched on top of the walls, throw down clay pots symbolising the heifer decorated with flowers, in a highly colourful festivity.