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Easter Week

Processions take place throughout the whole week and the floats are carried on the shoulders of members of the brotherhoods and religious associations following a path that leaves the church and makes its way through the narrow, winding streets of the town centre.

This event constitutes a very important part of the town’s rich historic-ethnological heritage since most of the brotherhoods and organisations were founded and became organised during the 17th, 18th and 20th Centuries.

Easter Week falls in March or April, depending on the year.

The Passion (Easter Sunday, Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday)

The Passion is, without doubt, one of the most important cultural displays of the village of Casarabonela that takes place on Easter Sunday, Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday and is the staging of a sequence of scenes, in real time and continuous in its religious symbolism.

Instead of an outdoor stage, they concentrate on presenting a different, interior view: the Church of Santiago Apóstol as a spiritual refuge for the whole town. They erect an enormous, rough wooden cross in the centre that symbolises the ritual and the absurdity of war.

Following this, a long series of scenes unfolds, charged with emotion and displaying a quality and truthfulness worthy of the highest respect. The Passion has been portrayed since 1984 and is, according to the newspaper “El Pais”: “one of the unusual events that you’d more likely expect to see in a cultural metropolis than in a 19th Century church in a mountain town of less than 2500 inhabitants”. But it is precisely this re-enactment of the death and resurrection of Christ that gives meaning to the celebration, and even the use of decoration and scenery is forgone in order to concentrate on the message.

The May Crosses (the 3rd of May)

On the Day of the Cross, the numerous niches (45 have been counted) take on a very special role and the crosses in their interior and their surroundings are beautifully decorated with flowers in order to honour this celebration.

At nightfall, the party continues with popular open-air dancing and the traditional burning of cloth figures.

There are still diverse theories as to the meaning, origin and function of the small religious monuments (the niches) that appear dotted around the entire village. See “niches” in the section entitled “Main Monuments”.

Fair of Santiago Apóstol (St. James de Apostle) (last week of July)

For several days the people decorate the village streets in all the colours of the rainbow for the festival in honour of Santiago de Apóstol. The Santiago de Apóstol procession takes place on the first day of the fair; a curiosity in itself since only the women participate. A large and varied program of events takes place throughout the week, including popular and traditional performances. This fair is one of the most eagerly awaited by the locals, and is a time for getting together with family and friends.

Atalaya Flamenca (beginning of July)

Since the 80s this meeting has been organised between flamenco singers and guitarists from all over Andalusia, accompanied by performances from local groups. From amateur flamenco singers to professional artists, this festival attracts them all.

Cultural Week (end of August)

The Cultural Week sees a whole variety of cultural and sporting activities with participation from children, young people and the elderly alike. As a symbol of the rich folklore of Casarabonela, the visitor can sample the traditional dishes and enjoy the displays of paintings and ceramics, as well as the handicraft products, concerts, theatre, cinema, etc…

There is also a competition for the best floral house decoration, the winners of which promise to maintain their house decorations for the whole year.

Pilgrimage of the Virgen del Rosario (7th of October)

The pilgrimage is celebrated, in honour of the Virgin of the Rosary, patron saint of the town of Casarabonela.

The pilgrims set off from the town in procession, carrying the Virgin in a covered wagon pulled by oxen, and take the El Burgo road until they reach Puerto Martinez, 5 km away. Once there, d various festive and entertainment activities take place.

Certamen de los Pastores

This event has no fixed date and can come before or after the Virgen de Los Rondeles Procession, (on the 12th of December).

Shepherds from various areas of the Malaga province come together to take part in this contest which takes place in the Santiago Apóstol Parish Church, a place with superb acoustics and the perfect size for this type of event.

The Casarabonela shepherd group has a very unique character; its members, spanning several generations, play instruments like the bass drum, the bell, the mortar, or an empty bottle; but the most remarkable instrument used by this unique group of musicians is the Moorish castanet, a very special type of castanet and the only one of its kind. The sound produced is very characteristic and is more than enough to warrant the group’s own, distinct personality.

The children’s shepherd group also plays a very important part; integrating the next generation of young shepherds.

Since 1983 the Virgen de los Rondeles Procession has taken place and the Friends of Rondeles Association has edited the popular Casarabonela Christmas carols, the ancient songs of the villagers.

The Friends of Rondeles Association wanted this meeting to bear the name of one of its founding members, Antonio Martin, (known to the world as “Martin”), inhabitant of the village and great defender of its popular traditions.

LOS RONDELES FESTIVAL (12th of December)

More information:

Observation: The Virgen of the Rondeles Festival was declared the National Festival of Tourist Interest for Andalusia towards the end of the year 2001.

The theories that attempt to explain this phenomenon are many and varied. What is certainly beyond a doubt is that, since the beginning of the 18th Century, a group of oil millers have carried their burning wicker baskets in procession during this festival, in a simple thanks to the Devine Shepherd for the harvest.

After the Civil War the Festival was not celebrated for several years. It began afresh in the 1970s, albeit with substantial modifications.

The events begin around 10pm with the blessing of the fire that will be used to light the oil covered baskets. This is when the numerous inhabitants begin a walk that runs from the Veracruz Chapel up to the highest part of the village, where the Santiago Apostol Parish Church is found.

Towards midnight the entourage formed by the members of the Rondeles association, the shepherds, and the numerous group of participants ends its journey at the Santiago Church. The Rondeles members wait around the entrance to the temple until the Virgin has been carried in to the building, where she will remain for the next few days.

But the celebrations do not end there; in the Casarabonela village square, the most entertaining part of the fiesta can be enjoyed. There’s nothing better than a hot cup of chocolate to keep the cold at bay, together with slices of bread with garlic and olive oil - “toasties” - and above all, doughnuts, the Moorish product par excellence, which delight the locals and visitors alike.




Association for the Rural Development of Sierra de las Nieves

Edificio Sierra de las Nieves, Paraje de Río Grande-Las Millanas, s/n - 29109- Tolox (Málaga) - Phone: 952 48 28 21 - Fax: 952 48 29 44