Festivities and traditions

jueves, 26 de febrero de 2015

San Antón – Luminarias (On the third weekend January)

San Antón – Luminarias

San Antón celebration, the Patron of animals, is celebrated on the 3rd weekend in January (around 17th January, which is his feast day).

On the eve of this celebration (on Saturday evening), San Antón is moved from his parish, San Miguel Church, to the hermitage which shares his name. The traditional luminarias (lights) or “chiscos” are celebrated around this hermitage and in all neighbourhoods of the city, where “the beard of the saint is burnt to protect us”. Neighbours, friends and relatives taste traditional products of the pig-killing, which are roasted on the fire and accompanied with a great local wine. These luminarias, as well as the horses and floats processing with San Antón, participate in the Local Competition of Lights, Floats and Horses of San Antón. This competition awards some prizes in cash to the best examples within each category.

On San Antón’s Day, (on Sunday morning), the Saint processes along San Miguel neighbourhood streets, in a cart pulled by oxen and accompanied by horses and floats. It is customary to make nine turns around the Saint’s hermitage on foot, on a horse’s or mule’s back, so receiving his protection. It also a tradition to buy the Cuña of San Antón, consisting in products such as mandarins, dates, figs, various dried fruits (presents which boyfriends formerly give to girlfriends), and  eating the Olla of San Antón with the family (its main ingredients are pork’s tail, cheek, bacon and ear).

Holy Week

Holy Week

The centenary and very emotional Holy week of Guadix is considered a religious celebration of tourist interest in Andalusia because of the high involvement of citizens and the contrasts in the processions through the historic city centre and the caves, where the tradition and the faith are merged. Its origin dates back to XVI and XVII century when, after the occupation of the city by the Catholic Kings, a new religious order was stablished, favouring the appearance of the Holy Week. The statues were a vehicle to show the life of Christ, Mary and the Saints to a mainly illiterate society, who gathered around a devotional statue creating brotherhoods or associations. The religious orders (Dominicans and Franciscans) were the main representatives of these associations of the faithful. As such, the Guadix Holy Week appeared in the XVII, being Santo Domingo, San Francisco, Santiago and San Sebastián the focus of the brotherhoods. The XIX century was a period with ups and downs because of the political events in the region and it went into a crisis at the beginning of the XX century, from which can’t be completely recovered until the 1980s. Nowadays, it is one of the most important and popular celebrations at regional level.

It is the week in which the Passion of Christ is commemorated and it is composed of two parts. The End of the Lent, from the Palm Sunday to the Holy Wednesday, and the Paschal Triduum (Holy Thursday, Friday and Saturday and Easter Sunday). During those days, Guadix people enjoy the emotional and devotional processions made by fifteen brotherhoods which take to the streets and squares since every Palm Sunday to the Easter Sunday. They are: Borriquilla, Estrella, Dolores, Flagelación, Esperanza, Vía-Crucis, Nazareno, Lágrimas, Obediencia, Luz, San Juan, Descendimiento, Sepulcro, Soledad y Resucitado next to the Cautivo and Rosario pro-brotherhoods. Their imagery and processions are of high quality, emphasising highly valuable statues such as Cristo de la Misericordia , Cristo de la Flagelación, Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza, La Virgen de la Humildad, Nuestra Sra. De Los Dolores (the old statue of the Patron) or San Juan Evangelista. All of them were made in the XVIII and XIX centuries.

It is a week in which Guadix people and visitors experience intensely the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ, taking part actively in the processions or as mere viewers. It makes Guadix a model of the Andalusian Holy Week in those days.

Cruces de Mayo (On 3rd May)

Cruces de Mayo

Guadix is clothed in spring at the beginning of May. It celebrates the traditional Cruces de Mayo, in which the courtyards of palaces, squares and charming places of the several neighbourhoods of Guadix wear their colourful crosses. Brotherhoods, associations and various groups prepare carefully the crosses’ drawing and set, which dominate the bars were traditional dishes and products of the Guadix gastronomy can be tasted, while enjoying all of this in the company of friends and the family from noon until the early morning.

The Chavicos, miniatures of the processions made by groups of children with the imaginary and the music of cornets and drums, are processed on their shoulders along the streets of Guadix.

Many crosses and chavicos participate in the competition of Cruces de Mayo and Chavicos, organised every year by the City Council of Guadix. This competition rewarded the best handmade crosses and chavicos, each one with its own theme represented in its decorations.

San Torcuato Festivity and Romería (On 15th May)

San Torcuato Festivities and Romería

San Torcuato, who was one of the Siete Varones Apostólicos (Seven Apostolic Men) ordained bishop by San Pedro and San Pablo in Rome and sent to preach to Spain, was martyred on 15th May 1966 in a place near Guadix (in Face Retama). He is nowadays the Patron of the city. 

Every 15th May, since the weekend previous to its onomastic, several events commemorating his death and patron celebrations of the city are celebrated.
The first event is the Romeria to the Face Retama Sanctuary from the San Torcuato Arch (through which the relics of the Saint came into Guadix), which takes place at sunset on the Saturday before his feast day. After the arrival to the sanctuary, a mass is celebrated, and also a procession with torchs with the Sacred Image of San Torcuato around the Emita-Sepulcro and the Face Retama Hostelry, which are headed by the Relics of the San Torcuato’s Jaw, brought from the Guadix Cathedral.

During the following five days, the Solemn Quinario (Five-day Devotion) is celebrated in the Cathedral in honour of San Torcuato. On Friday before his feast day, during the Offertory, several events are celebrated: a flower offering with red flowers to decorate the processions, the interpretation of the San Torcuato Anthem, and the kiss to the relic of the Saint’s Jaw. On Saturday, the Eve of the Feast and the Proclamation of the Patron Celebrations are celebrated. Finally, the Solemn Procession with the statue of San Torcuato and the Relic of the Sacred Arm takes place along the streets of Guadix. Particularly noteworthy is the accompaniment of boys, girls and women wearing the traditional Guadix dresses, the brotherhoods and the authorities of the city.

It is also a tradition in this area to taste the Torta Salá, Habas verdes and local wine during the popular open-air dance celebrated on Saturday night and music concerts.

Fátima Festivity ( The last Sunday in May)

Fátima Festivities

At the end of May and finishing the spring, the Barrio de Cuevas and the Fátima Church dress up to carry out the celebrations in honour of its principal: the Virgen de Fátima. She is processed at night along the streets of the neighbourhood, accompanied by three little shepherds, those who the Virgin appeared to: Lucía, Francisco and Jacinta. She is decorated with flowers and carried on the shoulders of her costaleros. She arrives at the church at midnight and the faithful said goodbye to her by fireworks. This procession dates back to 1957.

Ermita Nueva Festivity (The second Sunday of August)

Ermita Nueva Festivities

The Festivities of the Virgen de Gracia, the Patron of the Caves of Guadix, is the most important celebration of the Barrio de Cuevas. It starts on Saturday and it lasts until the Sunday evening. A flowers offering (carnations, gladioli and white tuberoses), masses, the procession along the neighbourhood’s streets and fireworks saying bye to the Patron are some of the events in her honour. On the 50th anniversary of her coronation, she received the Mayor Baton of the city. It is a tradition rooted in the Spanish kingdoms, which was inherited from the old councillors and chief magistrates of the cities in gratitude of the favours received.

Open-air dances, traditional games, gastronomic competitions, bars or even bullfights are the funniest examples of these patron celebrations.

Guadix Fair and Celebrations (The first week of September)

Guadix Fair and Celebrations

Every September, Guadix dresses up to carry out its summer celebrations, bringing summer time to an end and beginning a new period. These are some of the offers of this summer celebrations: fairground rides, concerts, stage plays, children’s activities, stands, bars, tapas, churros with chocolate and well-elaborated and prestigious pyromusic shows in the pyrotechnic workshop of the Caves of Guadix.

This celebration takes place by the end of August and early September, although it was celebrated originally at the end of September. It was like a cattle fair and coincided with San Miguel celebration, closing the fruits and vegetables season of the Guadix meadow.

Of special interest is the “Noon Fair”, which joins the traditional “Night Fair”. The stands placed in the exhibition site offers some samples of the traditional Guadix dishes, music and water steam baths to cool party people off. Young and old people, families, friends and visitors enjoy from the noon to the dawn in a festive atmosphere which is present in each corner of Guadix.

Virgen de las Angustias Festivity ( On 2nd Sunday in November)

Virgen de las Angustias Festivities

The patron festivities in honour of the Virgen de las Angustias, located within the San Diego Church, is celebrated in Guadix on the first and second weekend in November. The popular devotion dates back to XVII century and she is the co-patron of Guadix since 1906. The current statue was made by the Sevillian sculptor Castillo Lastruchi, because the old one, a wood statue made by the accitano Torcuato Ruiz del Peral, was demolished during the Spanish Civil War. Some engravings and the face of the Virgin are still preserved, which can be nowadays looked at in the current Virgen de los Dolores statue, located within the Concepción Church in Guadix.

On the first Sunday in the month, she is moved at dawn (7.30 a.m.) and accompanied by Guadix people until the Cathedral to celebrate her Septenario (Seven-Day Devotion). On her feast day (the second weekend in November) a solemn Pontifical Mass is celebrated, headed by the bishop of the diocese. On the afternoon, (18.30 p.m.) she is processed along the main streets of Guadix from the Catedral to its sanctuary.

The Virgin worship has always been related to important facts of the Guadix history such as the cholera in 1855, the drought in 1858, fires, earthquakes, etc. in which Guadix people resorted to the Virgin protection through public rogations.

Cascamorras (From 5th to 9th September).


The most widely version about the origin of this celebration is related to the arrival of Almohads in 1151, when many temples were demolished, including a Mozarab hermitage built in the Curra suburb in Baza. Three centuries later, one of the knights who accompanied Fernando El Católico, Mr. Luis de Acuña Herrera decided to build La Merced Church in that place. The construction was started in 1490 when the accitano Juan Pedernal, by breaking a piece of gypsum, heard a sweet and pitiful shout from the hole, which seemed to come from the earth core and said: “HAVE MERCY ON ME!” He found a statue of a Virgin, who was called Nuestra Señora de la Piedad since them, alluding to that expression.

The Guadix worker caused serious inconveniences for the other workers after competing for the possession of the statue, which implicated the authorities of the two cities.  The law of the time was obliged to intervene and decided to give the possession and property of the statue to Baza people and the right to celebrate annually the religious events on 8th September, when the feast of the Virgen de la Piedad takes place, to the Guadix City Council. It is also told there was an agreement through which Guadix could recover the statue whether a commissioner of Guadix reached to come into Baza and arrived at the church without getting dirty. Therefore, Guadix people went every year in romeria to celebrate the religious event, which was rightfully theirs. A number of people usually went to Baza accompanied by a jester, who was generally a small and ugly person whose mission was to distract his lords with jokes or silly things. It is believed that this jester was the precursor to current “Cascamorras” and it is reasonable to believe that servant, in charge of the rescue, was angry because of the jokes and laughs of the children who went there to get him dirty. That is probably the reason because he tried to defend himself with bags tied to a stick.

Nowadays, an accitano volunteers to embody the Cascamorras character, as a promise, and to try to arrive at La Merced church in Baza without getting dirty, in order to get the statue of the Virgen de la Piedad for Guadix people.
He wears a colourful dress, as if were a jester, and he carries a flag with the image of the Virgin and a “cachiporra” as the sole defence tool. He goes to Baza on 5th September at midnight, with the difficult mission to get and bring the Virgen de la Piedad to Guadix for her celebrations on 8th September.

His arrival to Baza takes place on 6th September in the afternoon and basketanos (people from Baza) welcome him at 18 p.m. to accompanied him till the church. During the tour, basketanos try to get him dirty to avoid the Virgin is brought to Guadix. If unsuccessful, celebrations will take place in Baza on 8th ans 9th September. Cascamorras should come back to his native Guadix, where he is received by annoyed Guadix people. They stain him again because he couldn’t carry out the ordered mission: to bring the Virgen de la Piedad to Guadix.

This celebration is open to all who want to accompany Cascamorras. In so doing, the following recommendations should be taken into account: to inform themselves in advance about the tour; to wear old clothes for getting rid it off once the celebration is finished; to moisturise the clear areas of the skin with olive oil, comfortable shoes for running and walking for 2 hours approximately; a ribbon and/or a cap to cover the hair and avoid something come into their eyes, to plan a place where we could clean all the dye from our body.

Raffles Dances (On the weekend after 25th December)

Raffles Dances

At the end of XIX century, “Raffles Dances” and “Souls Dances” took place in the Ermita Nueva Square, in the Barrio de Cuevas of Guadix, during the evenings in Christmas. They were organised by Ntra. Sra. de Gracia Brotherhood, the Patron of the neighbourhood.

It was traditionally that any person among those present offered a monetary donation for a particular man to dance with a chosen Lady. The donor said: “I give 25 or more reales so that whatshisname (the chosen name) dances with that lady”. The donations was collected in a trap, brought by a member of the Ntra. Sra. de Gracia Brotherhood. At this moment the “Floreo” character was present, who pointed at chosen people and told them the dance offer made by the donor. The most tragic moments were lived when the companion, husband or boyfriend refused his wife danced with any boy or even when the bidding between the offered and the named started. He used to equalise the offered donation for not dancing. The donor started to bid the first donation and the person affected equalised or bid the amount. In this way, the bid between them reached very tense moments.

For this reason, some aspects were modified, changing the naming for dancing by “cane blows”, made by the “Floreo” to the named. The bid continued but not for dancing, but because of the number of “cane blows” which would be given to the named. The new manner was: I GIVE, OR WE GIVE, 25, 50… OR MORE PESETAS SO THAT HE GIVES 2, 3 … “CANE BLOWS” TO WHATSHISNAME (WITH THE CANE THAT THE “FLOREO” HAD DURING ALL THE CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS).

The existence of these Christmas celebrations were shown in the “El Niño de la Bola” work, by the Guadix writer Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, in 1878, where he immortalized the “Raffles Dances” celebrated in the Ermita Nueva.

These dances were celebrated until 1970, when the “Rondalla de Ntra. Sra. de Gracia” (the musicians), which livened up these dances, was broken up. Nowadays, it has been recovered (on Christmas 2006) and it is celebrated on the weekend after 25th December in the Ermita Nueva of the Barrio de Cuevas in Guadix. The “Floreo” character is embodied by Cascamorras and dances, dominated by the “Niño de la Bola” statue, are enlivened by music groups of this area.