Let's Go on a Romería in the Lecrín Valley, Granada
Have you ever been on a Romeria?
Not sure what a Romería is? Wikipedia describes it very well here:-
A romería (Spanish) or romaria (Portuguese) is a religious pilgrimage. The term comes from romero/romeiro, meaning those travelling towards Rome. It is a Catholic celebration that consists of a trip or peregrination (in cars, floats, on horseback or on foot) that ends at a sanctuary or hermitage.
Romería in Pinos del Valle
During the month of May, at least two Romerías are held in the Lecrín Valley. In Pinos del Valle the Romería in honour of the Cristo del Zapato (Christ of the Shoe) commenced on Sunday 28th. April when the villagers brought the image of Christ down from its hermitage to the church in the Upper Neighbourhood. Festivities started on 1st. May, when everyone dressed in their flamenco outfits followed a Romería of carts through the village, ending up sharing a huge paella. The next evening the Christ was moved to the church in the Lower Neighbourhood where the day ended with a firework display. On 3rd. May, after a solemn church service, the Cristo del Zapato is carried round the village once more before returning to the hermitage.
Built in 1925 the hermitage sits high on the Chinchirina Hill, above Pinos del Valle with views all over the Valley and down towards the Costa Tropical. Legend has it that a shepherd found a painting of the Cristo del Zapato on the site of the present hermitage. He took it down to the church in the village for safekeeping but next day it was back on the hill again. After this happened three times, it was decided that that was where the Christ wished a sanctuary should be built. Whatever your beliefs, the walk up to the hermitage is well worth the effort.
Romería in Restábal
In Restábal, coinciding with the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, the Romería begins on 11th. May. Youngsters from the village carry the image of the Virgen del Cerro, or Virgen de Fatima, down to the church of San Cristobal. There she waits until 19th. May when, accompanied by festively, adorned carts and flamenco song, the villagers take her through the streets and up to the Cerro del Calvario, back to her hermitage.
The celebrations begin once the Virgin is reinstated in her shrine, where she will preside over the village and the surrounding countryside for another year. People set up awnings with tables and chairs where they enjoy their picnics in the shade. At the same time, another large paella, often for up to 400 people, is prepared. All through the day, they celebrate with song, dance and music. Fun and games for the children, include a bouncy castle and a mechanical bull. A traditional firework display marks the end of the holiday.
The present day hermitage was built in 1999 on the Cerro del Calvario thanks to donations made locally. Dominating great part of the Lecrín Valley,´the shrine is a place of daily pilgrimage for many from Restábal and the surrounding villages.
As you can see, a Romería is many things, all rolled into one. A religious feast most definitely, however, no religious feast in Spain is just that. It's a celebration of beliefs, customs and a love of life. What's more both these romerias are jolly good exercise, with the climb up and down from the hermitages and the dancing too! If you ever get the chance to join in, you'll be most welcome and won't regret it, I'm sure.
Published by Susan at Casa Tagomago