Photos: Janet Anscombe.
Romerías are held all year round, but summer’s perhaps the best time to go and see one. Whatever their origins are they are always associated now with a saint, often one with an agricultural connection, and so they are perhaps a Christian adaptation of a local pagan deity or spirit – a genius loci. One thing is sure, though, and that is that romerías are an occasion for a town to come together to celebrate its traditions of religion, music, dance … and food! “Platitos” are handed out liberally, and walking along the street you can find a “little plate” of carne fiesta, hard boiled egg, and papas arrugadas with mojo and bread roll thrust into your hand along with a plastic glass of wine, all courtesy of the local ayuntamiento.
The procession doesn’t just involve musicians, dancers and food, however, but donkeys, horses, and especially carts – with locals on board handing out that food and wine, and pulled by a pair of magnificent, noble and docile Canarian oxen. These are followed by the overwhelming majority of the local residents, many in traditional dress, and of course visitors, both tourists and residents from neighbouring areas. The procession is followed in the evening by a dance in the main square.
The pictures below are from Guía de Isora’s Romeria de San Isidro Labrador a couple of years ago. It will be held again on Sunday, 21 May, as always on the third Sunday of May. Also in May the Romeria of San Isidro Labrador in the town of San Isidro itself is this Sunday, the 7th; Arguayo’s is on the 14th, as is the Romería in honour of Nuestra Señora Fatima in Valle San Lorenzo. There is always likely to be a romería on somewhere in honour of one saint or another, and most council offices will have a list readily available with the dates of all those within the municipality. Wherever you experience a romeria this summer, you’re sure to have a fantastic time!