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Traditional Festivals

Traditional Festivals

The “Romería Nacional de los Gitanos”, or National Gypsy Pilgrimage” traditionally takes place the third Sunday in June and attracts not only gypsies, but also “payos” (non-gypsies). In fact, this event which was founded in 1969 by Jose Córdoba Reyes, draws participants from across Andalucia, Spain and even beyond national borders with the aim of both uniting gypsy communities and bridging the gap between gypsies and non-gypsies.

Possibly you thought the Christmas season was over on New Year’s Eve, but in Spain this is just the mid-point of all the celebrating. In this country, the tradition is to have a rather late dinner with your family – just one more rich, elaborate dinner, of course, complete with all the pastries, dried fruits and nuts and mountains of turrón that finish every meal at this time of year.

Religious Virgins are hugely popular in Andalucia; they are normally handcrafted from wood and porcelain and spend 99.9 per cent of the year in glass-covered alcoves at the local church. Most are dusted down and placed on flower-decked thrones at Easter-time when they are lovingly and solemnly borne through the streets. The Virgen del Carmen, however, has her own special day.

Ronda is an ancient mountain town of scenic vistas, omantic plazas, and historic treasures. Once a year, Ronda also sees a return to tradition with its annual Feria Goyesca. A fairly recent festival, at least in Andalucian terms, it has become an event that has captured the imagination of Spain with its traditional dress, important bullfights and its ageless glamour.

In Andalucia, there's a party every day - whether it's to celebrate a harvest (mostly in the autumn - grapes, olives, chestnuts, mushrooms) - a saint's day, or the town's own annual feria, when every town and village puts on a show, with casetas, sherry and dancing. Over 3,000 fiestas are celebrated every year in Andalucia, including fairs, pilgrimages, carnivals, mock battles between Moors and Christians.

Every year the beaches of Sanlucar de Barrameda in the province of Cádiz come alive with the pounding of hooves as the famous horse races take over the coast. Traditionally, the races take place the second and fourth weeks of August from Friday to Sunday. The schedule also depends on the tide times so they might come foward a week.