“LA SUBBETICA”: 14 TOWNS, MORE THAN A THOUSAND WAYS OF ENJOYING THEIR FESTIVALS

CHRISTMAS

Christmas is a very emblematic period of the year in all the municipalities of Spain but here, in the Subbetica Region it is celebrated with a special feeling with a Nativity Scene Contest in all the towns, the Contest of Benamejí’s Christmas Carols, the Nativity Alive scene of Encinas Reales, the Christmas Craft Market from Priego de Cordoba or the Great Magic Kings Cavalcade of Lucena among others, fill Christmas with colour and enjoyment for all ages.

CARNIVAL

At the beginning of Lent, over two weekends, we can find different activities for the Carnival: Parades, contests of “chirigotas” (funny songs) and groups, piñatas, fancy dress competitions and even the Burial of the Sardine in Rute or a thematic parade.

EASTER WEEK

La Subbética Cordobesa provides the visitor the opportunity to live one of the most emblematic Easter times in Andalucía. The liveliness of Baroque in Córdoba achieves the highest degree of human interpretation in sculptures which are taken out to the streets at the arrival of Holy Week. In addition, there is the amazing medieval layout of some of these neighbourhoods which enhances these magical experiences. Easter celebrations in Cabra, Lucena and Priego de Cordoba are inside the Thematic Route called “Caminos de Pasión”. It spreads the ancient legacy of the Holy Andalusian Week.

The Holy Week of Almedinilla provides interesting baroque images from the Granada School as “El Crucificado”, “Jesús Nazareno” and “La Virgen de los Dolores”. Benamejí presents a passional imagery of great quality, especially “Los pasos” consisting of groups of images.

The importance of “La Semana Mayor” in Cabra is interesting due to its historic and artistic beauty of its images, taking it to moments of maximum attention the day that “La Soledad” has its procession. “El Viernes Santo” while in Carcabuey you can find the procession called “El Consejito” where the images of “Jesus Nazareno” and “La Dolorosa” are brought over until they almost touch each other faces.

An important moment in Doña Mencía is when the image of El Cristo is taken down from the Calvary on Wednesday at midnight. Similarly important is when the live apostles join in the Thursday and Friday processions or the Descent from the Cross which is performed in the Parish Church on Friday afternoon by using a wooden carving with articulated arms which dates from the beginning of the 17th century.
Encinas Reales offers an Easter Week of interest.

The days of Passion in Fuente Tojar have as their most important appeal the backdrop, of a little village of just 900 inhabitants.
In Iznajar the popular religiousness has been unchanged through the centuries with its character and it is lived as a representation that is enhanced by using the streets of the town. In the processional parades people dress up as biblical figures of the period and accompany the penitents; as the apostles, three Marys, the Jews, the Romans or the executioners. It is why the ancient originality of Holy Week in Iznajar is such a unique experience. “El Paso” or the staging of The Passion of Jesus in Iznajar is performed by the village people on Saturday at five o’clock in the afternoon in the Parish Church , which is turned into a theatre for the occasion.
When talking about Easter Week in Lucena, the particular “santeros”, (people who carry the platform with the statue) need to be mentioned because they handle sculptures of great artistic value. After The Week of Passion, the little Easter Week (Semana Santa Chiquita) is celebrated at the beginning of May. Many grown up “santeros” started here. Holy Week in Luque is one of the most ancient of the province, some of its confraternities and images dating back to the 16th century. The beauty and austerity of its processions is heightened without equal, thanks to its meandering streets, the decoration of its buildings and to the fervour with which its neighbours and visitors partake. Of special interest is when Jesús de Nazareno is taken down from the Virgen del Castillo chapel, at the crack of dawn.

The sweet smells of anisettes surrounding Rute are the hints that will lead us to witness an Easter Thursday and Friday of great beauty. Palenciana stands out thanks to its opening speeches which are given out in the parish church at six o’clock on Friday morning. The procession of Roman soldiers also needs to be mentioned, although they are dressed in a uniform inspired by the Royal Guards from the 19th century. Priego de Córdoba has its peak moment on Friday, when “Jesús Nazareno” is taken up to the chapel in the Calvary, where he blesses the town people when everybody raises their hands holding their “hornazos” (traditional bread with a boiled egg in the middle). We should not forget Easter Wednesday and Thursday.

Finally, the picturesque layout of Zuheros contributes to the special charm of its Easter Week. They have opening speeches, live apostles and the moving meeting of “El Nazareno” and “La Virgen de los Dolores” at “El Santo” square on Friday morning.

If what you want is to get to know the “Subbética” in depth, its people, their traditions and their festivals; then participate in the activities which take place throughout the year, some based on the culture of the local people as well as other more unusual ones which the visitor can take part in just like any other citizen, experiencing the deeply rooted traditions of the local people of this area.

EASTER FOR CHILDREN

Hundreds of boys and girls take part every year in the infantile processions that are developed in localities such as: Benameji, Cabra, Lucena and Priego de Córdoba. These are a hotbed for future “santeros/portadores” (people who like religious images or bring them) of the most emblematic thrones of “la Subbetica” accompanied sometimes with their shawls and drummers.

FAIRS AND FESTIVALS

There are lots of fairs and festivals in honour of the local patron and patroness saints that are celebrated mainly in summer time in the municipalities of “La Subbetica”. Beginning with the “Aurora” Festival in Carcabuey in August, followed by “La Virgen del Carmen” in Rute, the Royal Fair of Priego de Córdoba, “Mª Santísima de la Sierra” festivals in Cabra, the Patron Saint festivals of Iznajar, “Del Valle” Fair in Lucena, “Virgen de Gracia” Festivals in Benamejí, the Royal Fair in Almedinilla finishing at the end of September with “San Miguel” Fair in Encinas Reales.

MUNICIPALITIES

“La Subbetica” region is formed by fourteen municipalities full of a wide legacy of popular customs and folklore.

ALMEDINILLA

Almedinilla’s religious feeling has its more relevant popular celebration the day of “La Candelaria” (February 2), with the benediction in the church of the bread threads adorned with rosemary and a procession in honor of the purification of the Virgin Mary; “La Cruz” (May 3) and “San Juan the patron Saint (June 24). The Royal Fair takes place from September 12 to September 14.

 


BENAMEJÍ

The most intimate and deep-rooted is the Festival of their Patroness, “La Virgen de la Gracia”, celebrated from September 10th to September 13th,, when the image of the Virgin is paraded through the streets. As many towns of the “Subbetica”, this town celebrates the holiday of San Marcos, 25th April, with a traditional lunch in the country, where the tradition of “tying the devil’s tail” takes place (tie jaramagos). “La Candelaria and San Blas”, 2nd and 3rd February, with the popular “roscas de dulce” (sweet rings). “Los Auroros”, in October, with traditional canticles to the Virgin singing by the town streets.

 


CABRA

“Virgen de la Sierra” commemorative festivals from 3rd to 8th September. The jubilant “bajá” (journey down from the sanctuary) takes place on the 4th. It is declared a Festival of National Tourist Interest. “Feria de San Juan”, from 22nd to 24th June. Pilgrimages to the Sanctuary. There are several pilgrimages or romerías to the Sierra Sanctuary throughout the year, organised by various guilds; the most popular and picturesque is that of the Gypsies, at the end of June.

 


CARCABUEY

Carcabuey has an impressive tradition in its Corpus Christi, when the town’s streets are decorated with carpets made from coloured sawdust. Also of interest is the Pascua de los Moraos, a carnival held on Resurrection Sunday. There is very important “Toro Cuerda” festival at the end of August.

 


DOÑA MENCÍA

“San Pedro Mártir de Verona” Fair and Festival (end of April and beginning of May).
“Feria de Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno” (mid-September), in honour of the eponymous image which, following a procession in 1860, saw off a plague epidemic in the district.

 


ENCINAS REALES

The most interesting festival is held during the last weekend in September in honour of “Nuestro Padre Jesús de las Penas” (though it is known as the “Fiesta de San Miguel”), with a procession of the patron’s image through the town streets, accompanied by flares and fireworks.
Another festival that is also celebrated in several of the Subbética’s towns and villages is that of San Marcos, on 25th April, when the tradition is to spend the day in the country.

 


FUENTE TÓJAR

We can find one of the most singular and ancient traditions of Cordoba province, “Los Danzantes (dancers) of Fuente Tojar, where groups of eight people wearing stamped skirts and colourful paper hats, dance with the accompaniment of guitars, castanets, tambourines and violins, before the image of “San Isidro Labrador” in the procession which is celebrated on May 15. The second Sunday of August “La fiesta de la Alcaparra” is celebrated in honor of the emigrants, and the bonfire of “Santa Lucía” in the middle of December.

 


IZNÁJAR

From September 7 to September 11 they celebrate the festival of their patroness, “La Virgen de la Piedad” with a traditional night time procession of the image on 8th of September. A large number of people accompany the image of the Virgin on the route through the streets, carrying large candles, as a reminder of when religious promises were kept by burning kilos of wax, with some people going so far as offer their weight in it.

“El Chacarrá”, a dance recovered by the “Asociación Cultural Amigos del Chacarrá”, which forms a part of the traditional folklore of the area.
San Marcos, 25th April.

The “Feria Chica” or small fair, whose cattle origin gave rise to the current holiday that today marks the beginning of the summer season, it is held on 15th, 16th and 17th of June.

San Isidro, 15th May.

A part of the mentioned celebrations, the villages offer their own traditions and holidays that with the cozy character of Iznajar inhabitants invite the visitor to take part. The festivals and traditions of “San Jose” in La Celada, “San Marcos” in Las Chozas, “Los Quintos” in Fuente del Conde, “La Cruz de Mayo” in Fuente del Conde and La Cruz de Algaida, “La Candelaria” in Los Juncares, the one in honour of “Apostol Santiago” in Corona, “Nuestra Señora del Carmen” in el Higueral, “San Isidro” pilgrimage in Ventorros and the celebration of the Carnival and fiestas entertained with the dance of the “Chacarrá” and “cante de poetas” in some of them have been awarded special value in the cultural heritage of Iznajar.

 


LUCENA

“Fiestas Aracelitanas”, celebrated on the first Sunday of May in honour of the Virgin of Araceli, patroness of Lucena and the Andalusian countryside, and which involves a crowded procession around the streets of Lucena. The festival has been recognised as being of national interest for Andalusian tourism as well as its Holy Week with beautiful sculptures. In September we have the “Feria Real” and The Cavalcade of Kings is on January 5th.

“Feria del Valle”, this is the Royal Fair of Lucena, held from 8th to 10th September.

Holy Week, mention must be made of the unusual “santeros” (throne bearers), who carry images of major artistic value. After the Passion Week comes the “Semana Santa Chiquita”, the “Small Holy Week” for younger “santeros” that takes place on the Saturday after Easter Sunday.

Feria de San Francisco, 2nd August.

 


LUQUE

Luque celebrates two pilgrimages in spring: “San Isidro” 15th May and “San Jorge” 23rd April. From August 24th to August 28th they celebrate “San Bartolome” Festival, which is the patron saint of the town. Around the second Sunday of September, is the festival of the“Virgen de la Aurora” with the traditional Marian couplets of the “Auroros” at dawn. We must also mention the Carnival circles

 


PALENCIANA

The most characteristic festival, “la Feria del Carmen”, is celebrated from 15th to 17th August, with the traditional and original twirling of flags before the image of the Virgin. On the day of San Isidro there is a “romería” or pilgrimage up to el Monte Realengo.

 


PRIEGO DE CÓRDOBA

Priego de Cordoba is a town that thrives on its customs and traditions.

The Carnival: Is an explosion of joy, colour and imagination before the concentration of the Holy Week.

The Holy Week: The ornately decorated town, complete with magnificent thrones, is an explosion of fervour and emotion.

Every Sunday in May: The titular images of every confraternity are displayed in magnificent altarpieces adorned with flowers, candles, chandeliers and vases. Animated raffles are realized with showy processions every Sunday.

Corpus Christi: A beautiful procession that is celebrated in “El Barrio de la Villa”. The town is adorned and maximises the blossoming of the spring time flowers in a riot of colour against the whiteness of the houses.

“Feria Real”: Is celebrated from September 1 to September 5. The traditional “Quejíos” stands out, silences, happy moments and sadnesses, the Trouveurs or the brothers of “La Aurora”.

 


RUTE

The Carnival in Rute is one of the most important in the province, and in recent years the “Entierro de la Sardina” or Burial of the Sardine has become one of its most popular elements.

On “San Marcos’” day (25 April), various open-air activities are organised in pretty spots in the country near the town.

“Las Cruces” Contest. The Veracruz neighbourhood is decked out to celebrate this traditional contest on the first day of May.

The Fair of “Virgen de la Cabeza” (second Sunday in May).

Patron Saint’s Festival, 11 to 15 August, in honour of “Virgen del Carmen”.

“Las Coplas de la Aurora”(Songs of Dawn).

“La Feria Real” (Royal Fair), 24 to 28 August.

The popular “Chacarrá” dance.

Reaching its peak in the last few years this Carnival has become one of the best in the province of Cordoba. In this period of enjoyment one gives free rein to the festive subconscious, encompassing both the satire and the disguise.

 


ZUHEROS

Zuheros has the festival of the day of the Cross with its flowery street crosses. The Fair of August is celebrated the weekend following the weekend of 15th. “Jesus Nazareno” festival is September 14th. For the Carnival it is a custom to play to a peculiar street circle called “melechon”, singing of satirical or loving lyrics. Special interest is the holiday of the Cheese in Autumn.

“La Subbetica” region is formed by fourteen municipalities full of a wide legacy of popular customs and folklore.

“La Candelaria” and “San Blas” – February 2 and 3.

Popular holiday of religious origin and of great tradition in the municipalities of Almedinilla, Benamejí, Encinas Reales, Palenciana, Priego de Cordoba and Zuheros. The bonfires are the prelude to a set of activities that happen for canticles, dances, and multitude of festive acts. Coinciding with the Day of “San Blas” with its tradition of taking the ring-shaped bread loaf to him in order that he blesses them.

“San Marcos” Day – April 25.

It is a day indicated in many towns of the region as Rute, Palenciana, Encinas Reales, Iznajar, Benameji or Las Lagunillas, as the one where all the local people go out to the countryside to spend a day of leisure and conviviality in beautiful surroundings. In some areas there is the gastronomic tradition of the production of the typical “hornazo” a figure of bread in the form of a wrist and lizard stuffed with a cooked egg.

“La Cruz” Day – May 1.

Se celebra en numerosas localidades, donde fiestas y cruces vecinales se encuentran por doquier y acicalan los barrios de la comarca con flores típicas de la zona. Concursos de Patios, Rincones y Balcones de la Subbética. Mes de mayo. La comarca brinda numerosos secretos escondidos en sus rincones y patios más emblemáticos herencia de un legado romano, árabe y cristiano. Muchos de ellos se pueden visitar durante el mes de mayo. Más información en www.patiosdelasubbetica.es

Corpus Day – June.

The Procession of the Corpus in several municipalities of “La Subbetica” joined to the floral explosion of the carpets of colours in such towns as Carcabuey, turns the “Subbetica” into a must see date to visit.

Romerías.

Emphasized for its shape, colour and the religious fervour of the gypsies going to the Sanctuary of Cabra, “La Virgen de Araceli” in Lucena, “San Isidro Labrador” in Almedinilla and Luque and the famous “Danzantes” (Dancers) of Fuente Tojar who dance the day of its festival.

“San Juan” – June 24 (night)

Almedinilla with “Noche de la Encantá”, “San Juan” fair in Cabra and Luque or “La Cencerrada” in Zuheros full of experiences this magical night of the year.

Gastronomic festivals.

It is necessary to emphasize the varied holidays that are devoted to the traditional gastronomy of “La Subbetica”. One of the most famous is the Holiday of the Cheese occurs in Zuhero’s locality at the beginning of October. Also the Holiday of the Quince in Carcabuey or the Mycologist Priego, with activities related to mushrooms and fungi. Additionally almost every month of the year, snack (tapas) fairs are organized in some of the 14 municipalities of the “Subbetica” Cordobesa.

Festivities and “Campanilleros de la Aurora” – October

The “Campanilleros” traditional music is a highlight of the procession of “La Virgen de la Aurora” in October. Especially the bands from Benamejí, Rute, Priego and Luque, although they can also be seen at many other festivals, and they meet in the Hermitage of “La Aurora” for other months of the year.

MUNICIPIOS

La comarca de la Subbética la componen catorce municipios repletos de un amplio legado en costumbres populares y folclore.

ALMEDINILLA

El sentimiento religioso de Almedinilla tiene su manifestación popular más relevante el día de la Candelaria (2 de febrero), con la bendición en la iglesia de las roscas de pan adornadas con romero y procesión en honor de la purificación de la Virgen María; El de la Cruz (3 de mayo) y el del patrón San Juan Bautista (24 de junio). La Feria Real tiene lugar del 12 al 14 de septiembre.

 


BENAMEJÍ

La fiesta más entrañable y arraigada es la de la Patrona, la Virgen de Gracia, celebrada del 10 al 13 de septiembre, en cuyas fechas se procesiona su imagen.

Al igual que muchos pueblos de la Subbética, en esta localidad se celebra la fiesta de San Marcos, el 25 de abril, con una tradicional comida en el campo, para una vez allí ‘atar el rabo al diablo’. Otras fiestas de interés serán La Candelaria y San Blás (3 de febrero), con sus populares ‘roscas’de dulce. Así como en Oc-
tubre Los Auroros, con sus tradicionales cánticos a la Virgen.

 


CABRA

Del 3 al 8 de septiembre tienen lugar sus fiestas en honor a la Virgen de la Sierra, cuya jubilosa bajá del santuario tiene lugar el día 4, festividad también decla-
rada de Interés Turístico Nacional. A finales de junio el protagonismo es para la Feria de San Juan. Durante casi todo el año son numerosas las romerías de gremios que se celebran al santuario de la Sierra; la más concurrida y pintoresca es la de los Gitanos, a finales de junio.

 


CARCABUEY

De gran belleza resulta la celebración del Día del Corpus, fecha ésta en la que las calles de la localidad se engalanan con alfombras de serrín multicolor. De especial interés resulta también la Pascua de los Moraos, carnaval celebrado en el Domingo de Resurrección. Destacar también la fiesta del toro cuerda a finales de agosto.

 


DOÑA MENCÍA

La feria de San Pedro Mártir de Verona, patrón del pueblo, se celebra a final de abril, y la de Jesús Nazareno, el catorce de septiembre, en honor a que dicha imagen, tras ser procesionada en 1860, acabó con una epidemia de peste en la comarca.

 


ENCINAS REALES

Las fiestas más entrañables y características son las de San Miguel, que se celebran durante los días 28, 29 y 30 de septiembre, en honor de Nuestro Padre Jesús de las Penas, procesionándose la imagen del patrón por las principales calles del pueblo. Otra festividad, compartida con varios municipios de la Subbética, es la de San Marcos, el 25 de abril, con la tradicional salida al campo.

 


FUENTE TÓJAR

En Fuente Tójar hallamos una de las tradiciones más singulares y antiguas de la provincia de Córdoba, los Danzantes de Fuente Tójar, que en número de ocho y ataviados con faldas estampadas y coloristas gorros de papel bailan, con el acompañamiento de guitarras, castañuelas, panderetas y violín, ante la imagen de San Isidro Labrador en la procesión que se celebra el 15 de mayo. En el segundo domingo de agosto se celebra la Fiesta de la Alcaparra, en honor de los emigrantes, y la fogata de Santa Lucía, a mediados de diciembre.

 


IZNÁJAR

Del 7 al 11 de septiembre se celebra la festividad de la patrona, la Virgen de la Piedad, con la tradicional procesión de la imagen de la patrona la noche del día 8 a la que miles de devotos acuden con velas y grandes cirios encendidos y es que antiguamente se hacían las promesas, y aún se mantiene esta tradición, en kilos de cera quemada en el recorrido de la procesión.

En Iznájar se ha recuperado el baile del Chacarrá, a cargo de la asociación cultural ‘los amigos del Chacarrá’, formando parte del folclore tradicional de la comarca.

El 25 de abril se celebra San Marcos y a mediados de junio la Feria ‘Chica’ cuyo origen ganadero dio paso a las actuales fiestas que hoy marcan el inicio de la estación estival.

Al margen de las celebraciones mencionadas, las aldeas brindan sus propias tradiciones y fiestas que con el carácter acogedor del iznajeño invitan al visitante a ser conocidas y partícipes de ellas; las fiestas y celebraciones de San José en la Celada, de San Marcos en Las Chozas, de los ‘Quintos’ en Fuente del Conde, de La Cruz de Mayo en las aldeas de Fuente del Conde y de La Cruz de Algaida, de La Candelaria en Los Juncares, en honor al Apóstol Santiago en Corona, de Ntra. Sra. del Carmen en El Higueral, la romería de San Isidro en Ventorros y la celebración del carnaval y veladas amenizadas con el baile del ‘chacarrá’ y ‘cante de poetas’ en otras tantas de ellas confieren esa especial riqueza en su patrimonio cultural a Iznájar.

 


LUCENA

De gran realce son las Fiestas Aracelitanas, conmemoradas el primer domingo de mayo, que tienen por protagonista a la Virgen de Araceli, patrona de Lucena y del Campo Andaluz, que desfila en multitudinaria procesión por las calles de Lucena. Éstas han sido declaradas de Interés Turístico Nacional a igual que su Semana Santa con bellas esculturas procesionales. En septiembre señalamos su Feria Real, conocida como la Feria del Valle. También citar la cabalgata de los Reyes Magos y el Festival de Piano a finales de Agosto.

 


LUQUE

Luque celebra dos romerías en primavera la de San Isidro, el 15 de mayo y la de San Jorge, el 23 de abril. Del 24 al 28 de agosto se celebran las Fiestas de San Bartolomé, patrón de la localidad. Hacia el segundo domingo de septiembre se festeja a la Virgen de la Aurora, con las tradicionales coplas marianas de los Auroros en la madrugada. De Luque señalaremos también los corros de carnaval.

 


PALENCIANA

La fiesta más característica se celebra del 15 al 17 de agosto, la Feria del Carmen, con el típico y original Revoleo de banderas delante de la Virgen. El día de San Isidro se realiza una romería al Monte Realengo.

 


PRIEGO DE CÓRDOBA

Priego de Córdoba, es un pueblo que vive sus costumbres y tradiciones. Los Carnavales: Explosión de júbilo, color e imaginación antes del recogimiento de la

Semana Santa, la semana santa: viste al municipio con magníficos pasos, en una explosión de fervor y emoción. Los domingos de mayo: Las imágenes titulares de cada cofradía son expuestas en magníficos retablos, ornamentados con flores, velas, candelabros y jarrones. Se realizan animadas rifas y cada domingo se suceden vistosas procesiones.

Corpus Christi: Una bella procesión que se celebra en el Barrio de la Villa. Éste se engalana y adquiere su máximo esplendor de flores y blancura.

Feria Real: Se celebra del 1 al 5 de septiembre. Destacar los tradicionales ‘Quejíos’, silencios, alegrías y tristezas, los troveros o los hermanos de la Aurora.

 


RUTE

El Barrio de la Veracruz se engalana para celebrar su tradicional concurso de cruces el primer domingo de mayo. En fechas cercanas a esta se celebra la Feria de la Virgen de la Cabeza, el segundo domingo de mayo, celebrándose del 11 al 15 de agosto las fiestas patronales en honor a la Virgen del Carmen.

Rute mantiene la celebración de las ya comentadas coplas de la Aurora. Del 24 al 28 de agosto hallaremos la Feria Real. En esta localidad, al igual que en Iznájar, sobresale la tradición del baile popular del ‘Chacarrá’.

Subrayar el notable auge que ha alcanzado en los últimos años el Carnaval, que lo ha convertido en uno de los carnavales de la provincia de Córdoba.En este periodo de diversión se da rienda suelta al subconsciente festivo, a través de la sátira y el disfraz.

 


ZUHEROS

Zuheros recibe la festividad del día de la Cruz con sus floridas cruces callejeras. La Feria de Agosto se celebra el fin de semana más próximo al 15. La festividad de Jesús Nazareno es el día 14 de septiembre. Por carnaval es costumbre jugar a un peculiar corro callejero llamado ‘melechón’, canto de letrillas satíricas o amorosas. Destacar también la fiesta del Queso en Otoño.