Although the village of Alájar enjoys the peace and tranquillity of the area, it is a vibrant community and explodes with life during traditional Andalucian festivals. Every town and village in Andalucia has an annual feria (fair) and fiesta featuring parades, dancing and feast. And trust us, there is nothing like a Spanish fiesta, and those of Andalucia are among the most colorful.
Festivals in Andalucia in spring and summer
Southern Spain is almost synonymous to Fiesta at May and June. More often Andalucian fiestas mark a religious occasion and the most sacred and popular are Romerías (pilgrimage).
May and June traditionally open the Romería season where the village is left deserted at an early hour as most people make the pilgrimage to the local sanctuary where the patron saint is to be found. A highly decorated banner is placed on a carriage covered with flowers and pulled by oxen, while the mountsmen/ ladies in traditional dress lead the pilgrimage and the devotees on foot follow behind the carriage. On arrival a mass is said and the party begins – these romerias can last a full day or over a weekend!
Come and celebrate spring with us! It is an ideal time to visit the countryside: see the ‘flower’s blooming explosion’, the weather is mild and ferias and fiestas celebrate the ending of winter.
Festivals in Andalucia in the end of summer and in autumn
In Alájar Romerías take place in August and September:
• Romería (pilgrimage) of St. Bartholomew (3rd weekend in August)
• Romería de la Virgen de la Salud (Los Madroñeros) (last weekend in August)
• Romería de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles (Peña de Arias Montano) (7 and 8 of September)
The pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Angels at La Peña dates back to the XIV century following a vision of Our Lady. It is an important regional event as the Virgin is the Patron Saint of the Sierra. Pilgrims come from villages distant and local, on foot and horseback, accompanied by their highly decorated carriages drawn by oxen. The revered image of Our Lady, now housed in the beautiful white “ermita” was reputedly discovered in one of the caves below the crag.
Festivals in Andalucia in winter
Live Nativity scenes and The Reyes Magos: Christmas and New Year is special everywhere and everyone has their own way of celebrating. Here in the Sierra de Aracena the live nativity scenes start at the beginning of December, where people from the village dress the part and stand statuette depicting the different nativity scenes every weekend until the New Year. After New Year comes the eve of Epifany (Jan 5th) when the 3 kings ride into town on floats throwing sweets at all and sundry. The 3 kings (or wise men), Melchor, Baltasar and Gaspar are the ones who bring the kids their presents and the expectation on those tiny faces as they receive their presents in the church after the parade is something to cherish.
Come and celebrate New Year in La Posada de San Marcos and get the most of winter holidays!
Holy Week – From Holy Thursday to Saturday there are religious processions in Aracena. The holy images are taken out of their temples for everyone to see and enjoy. The images are carried on large floats by teams of men (and sometimes ladies) underneath the floats taking all the weight. These costaleros train hard all winter building up the weight every week and making sure that they walk in time with the music. It is an emotional time for most Spaniards who may not be fervently religious but appreciate this unique art that is revealed to everyone during this special week.
Little Holy Week – So why do these traditions continue? – it’s simple, the children are brought up on it and 2 Sundays after Easter Sunday they celebrate their own semana santa all in miniature. They make their floats and their images, they dress accordingly and they even have their own brass bands. A unique experience that only happens in Sierra de Aracena.