Salvadoran girls carry an altar with a statue of Virgin Mary during the procession of the Flower & Palm Festival in Panchimalco, El Salvador, 8 May 2011. On the first Sunday of May, the small town of Panchimalco, lying close to San Salvador, celebrates its two patron saints with a spectacular festivity, known as Fiesta de las Flores y Palmas. The origin of this event comes from pre-Columbian Maya culture and used to commemorate the start of the rainy season. Women strip the palm branches and skewer flower blooms on them to create large colorful decoration. In the afternoon procession, lead by a male dance group performing a religious dance-drama inspired by the Spanish Reconquest, large altars adorned with flowers are slowly carried by women, dressed in typical costumes, through the steep streets of the town.