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A description of life in the village of Pruna, nestled in the Andalusian mountains of Seville

Village life in the Andalusian mountains

First Sunday, every May, the Romeria, unmissable
23 March 2017 @ 21:44

Technically speaking a Romeria is a pilgrimage, the name stems from long pilgrimages going to Rome. In Andalusia it means a procession of carts, walkers, and people on horseback, in local costume, walking towards a hermitage or other sanctuary, while carrying an image of Mary, Mother of God. But this is Mary as a shepherdess, and a very young woman, not the image of Mary one usually thinks of.

Pruna goes wild for their Romeria.

The whole weekend is a riot of partying, dancing, flamenco, and drinking. The day itself, the Sunday, starts early at the church as the prepared float of Mary leaves the church, literally to fanfare.  There is then the very slow walk up through the winding roads, by the whole village, into the hills and evertually arriving at the hemitage. Mary is removed from the float (which is pulled by flower strewn oxen), and placed into the tiny church. There mass is performed, open air, and believers can take the eucharist. It is very very moving.

After the mass the party starts, an it will last all day. Families have tents, that were set up the night before or in teh early morning, and serve food. Spontaneous dancing, guitar playing, and flamenco singing ring through the air. As dusk falls many will walk back down to the village for more partying and mingling with family and friends. Mary will be brought back to the village late in the evening by the young people of the village.

Some of the Brits drive up early, before the procession, and make camp like the villagers, but apart from posing in the flamenco dresses, or passing round the beers, take little part in the actual procession or proceedings. But I am always torn, if I stayed my Spanish neighbours would insist I sat with them and I worry I would only get in the way on this very family themed day. So I stay for a sherry and walk down through the silent streets and wait for the fireworks that mark Mary's entrance to the village in the evening. Then I go back down and watch her being returned to the church and join in the fiesta spirit.

Be warned, on this day, during the day, only one bar is open!! Bar Campo in the morning, and Bar Rincon in the afternoon. In the evening the villagers return in drifts to the centre where there is a funfair and all the bars are open, staff in very good moods but a tad the worse for wear. Do not expect quick service.

Always on the first Sunday in May.


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