Festivals in the Sierra Aracena: The Romeria of La Reina de Los Angeles

It’s the 8th of September and the day of my favourite festival in the Sierra. Its full of horses, mules, donkeys and a wonderful mix of devotion and conviviality. Today is the day where each of the surrounding villages pay homage to the Patron Saint of the Sierra Aracena, La Reina de los Angeles whose hermitage is at the Pena de Arias Montano. This is a beauty spot on a rocky outcrop overlooking the village of Alajar. It is also full of history and the extraordinary story of Arias Montano, a highly learned man of the Renaissance times.

Although in 1970 this Romeria was given a very public and national status it is truly a very local event. At least nine of the surrounding villages go on a pilgrimage to the hermitage and this includes Seville. All travel on foot, horseback or the lucky ones in a carriage. The Virgin Mary of each local village church is taken by bullocks in beautifully adorned carts. These are paraded in front of the Queen of the Angels at the hermitage. She too is then taken out of her seclusion and shown the beauty of the views.

If you live in or close to one of the villages such as Fuenteheridos and Castano de Robledo this is also the time to meet up with neighbours and share good food and drink. After the religious devotions there is time for picnic and chats. It is a balancing act of cultural traditions, religious devotion and neighbourliness which also seems to honour the natural beauty of the area and rural lives, past and present.

For many it is time to get out the wonderful flamenco dresses, ride your horse, sing songs and enjoy a day out. For me I relish being here as it was the one festival I always had to miss as the school term had begun. I was always given a running commentary about the horses. Perhaps one day I’ll finally get back on a horse and ride up over those hills to the Pena. I might need a little assistance too!


19 thoughts on “Festivals in the Sierra Aracena: The Romeria of La Reina de Los Angeles”

  1. Sitting here under grey skies with torrential rain outside …what can I say? However, still preferable to lesson planning and meetings….Fabulous pics…and thanks for Ruth’s lovely birthday card.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, September is ideal here and can now get on with some of the finishing off painting. The heat was too exhausting in August. Will try and do a post about the madrono tree. It’s just beginning to redden now. And use the poem! But first it was for you! Get writing a detective story set in Sheffield. Female characters and you have real knowledge of history and place.


  2. I happened upon your post and was quite riveted. The photos sings out the festivity; so full of colour and fest. You give some history that I want to explore so have to save this.
    Arias Montano is one name that sticks out. Will google.:)
    Beautiful post

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a wonderful festival – and a date I will remember as it falls on my birthday!! ๐Ÿ˜€ I love the sense of community as all the villages gather together and the sense of occasion is obvious from the glorious dresses, the horses and carriage in your lovley photos.

    Liked by 1 person

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