August is the month of local fiestas, each village traditionally has its own annual fiesta which normally lasts 2 or 3 days with fireworks, usually some live music and lots of drinking. They mostly have processions which are interesting to watch. All of these fiestas are religious in origin, celebrating the patron saint of each village. If you are staying at the cortijos during this time it is worth visiting any of the villages during their fiestas. Busquistar also has an annual jazz and blues festival at the beginning of August. If you are around then do visit, it is usually very good.
Other Fiesta dates include the following:
The Chisco of San Antón: A fire festival around the 16th of January.
At dusk, each village makes a big bonfire to ask for protection from San Anton, the patron saint of animals. The villagers gather around the fire, roast meat together and sing and enjoy the fires heat and traditionally, at the end of the evening the young men of the village jump through the fire to show how brave they are!
Fiestas de San Sebastián – 20th January patron saint of Órgiva. Service at the Hermitage followed by a procession of the statue around the town and fireworks display in Orgiva. In neighbouring Lanjaron on the same date musical bands stand in front of the different religious effigies and play different tunes to each.
Virgen de la Candelaria (Candlemas Virgin): Atalbéitar, February
A statue of the Virgin of the Candlemas is carried through the town with candles in a traditional procession whilst a hearty soup is prepared in the village square for everyone to enjoy.
The Made in La Alpujarra fair – Easter Week – (Hecho en la Alpujarra) celebrates the food, crafts and customs of the region. Over 20,000 people turned up at the last one. In 2014 it was 17th-20th April in Órgiva
San Francisco de Paula: Capilerilla: the first weekend of April.
Homage to the patron saint San Francisco de Paula. Mass is celebrated outdoors followed later on by a procession through the town ending up with a sweet feast made up of traditional desserts (doughnuts and twisted rolls) accompanied by local wine.
San Marcos: Mecina-Fondales: 25th of April.
The traditional celebration of San Marcos starts with a traditional mass being celebrated followed by a procession. Interestingly enough the date of this fiesta has been moved to August as this is when family members who have left the village can return to visit family and friends etc.
Día de la cruz (Day of the cross)-May 3rd – Dressed in traditional clothes, a procession heads up to the Ermita del Tajo de la Cruz with each person holding a pastry with an egg in the middle – Lanjarón
Día de San Isidro-May 15th – In the afternoon a procession, which includes children dressed in colourful costumes, heads for the Ermita on the edge of town. San Isidro is the patron saint of farm workers. [Lanjarón].
Fiesta de la Virgen de la Fe at Las Barreras on the outskirts, west of town. Órgiva-last Sunday in May
San Juan: fiestas del agua y el jamón. Evening of 23rd into 24th June – Join the fun and get soaked in water for an hour at midnight. It’s to do with John the Baptist, but many people just want to get drunk and eat lots of jamón. (Lanjarón)
Fiesta de Santa Marta.-July 29th – Marta, housed in a glass box opposite the children’s playground, means a lot to people here, especially the older generation and families who formerly worked in the mines of the Sierra de Lújar. The evening before sees churros, music and dancing – Órgiva
San Roque: Pitres: 15th – 17th of August.
San Roque is the patron saint of Pitres and celebrations involve the usual church mass followed by processions and fireworks and food and drink into the early hours. On the last day, the brotherhood of fishermen, La sardina resucitá, celebrates with a traditional sardine feast in Capilerilla.
Cristo de la Expiración: Pitres, the Second Friday before Good Friday.
The day of the Expiration of Christ is the second most important local celebration. An exclusively religious Festival, the Statue of Christ is very popular and many people come from all corners of Spain for the procession. The statue is very costly and was made by the revered sculptor Domingo Sanchez-Mesa. It replaced a previous one that was destroyed during the Civil War
San Marcos and San Cayetano: Mecina-Fondales, second weekend of August.
The co-patrons of Mecina-Fondales exert their influence on the three villages of Mecina, Mecinilla and Fondales. Apparently, San Cayetano was the old patron saint of Mecinilla where he had a hermitage. From the church a procession traverses the three villages and ends in Fondales with food and drink.
Virgen de Gracia (Virgin of Grace): Atalbéitar, second weekend of August.
The Statue of the Virgin of Grace is the same as the Virgin of the Candlemas, with a change of clothes. The statue is carried around the village. There are only 10 inhabitants normally but a lot of friends and relatives return for this fiesta. The celebrations also include cucañas – infantile games for all the children. In the evening there is barbecue and soup for all.
Santa Cruz: Ferreirola, fourth weekend of August.
Although the festival of Santa Cruz is in May, the lack of people in the village has made it necessary to move the celebration to August, when they organise a fancy dress party, and finish with the traditional “burial of the fox”.
Feria de Órgiva-Sept 29th-October 5th-Myriad events over four days including music, food, exhibitions and partying which marks the end of summer.
Virgin of the Rosary: Fondales, first weekend of October.
The inhabitants of Fondales pay homage to their patron saint. From a small shrine a procession sets off around the town.
Mauraca, celebration of the chestnut: All of the villages, All Saints Day, 1st November.
This is the harvest festival of the area. The neighbours meet around the bonfires for roasted meat andchapurrao drinks. This last drink consists of fermenting grape juice mixed with brandy
For further information on fiestas and festivals in the Alpujarras see our link page.