Every year, usually on the Sunday morning following the big Corrida, the Real Maestranza de Caballería de Ronda and the Real Club de Enganches de Andalucía hold a competition to pick the best horse and carriage.
The prizes aren’t significant, no more than a few hundred Euros, but the honour of being awarded the Champion of Champions Trophy at this event far outweighs any other prize on offer at the other provincial Ferías.
Several classes of carriage are judged, starting with single horse carriages, all the way to six horse teams arranged three across. Carriages fall into two and four wheel classes, covered and uncovered, and are usually in immaculate condition. Carriage owners take great pride in the appearance of their carriages, the horses, harnesses, and of course themselves. Click the “continue reading” to see images and video of the horse and carriage show. Continue reading “Las Enganches” Horse and Carriage Show – Goyesca Ronda→
Ronda Today received an email from a very excited local artists today, Alan Pearson, a man whose art is already featured in our artist pages. Alan emailed us to tell us he’d won a competition in Olvera for artwork to be used in the town’s Caranval 2010 poster.
Alan is justifiably pleased to have been selected because he’s made such an effort to integrate into the local community, with many prominent Spaniards in Olvera calling him a friend. As winner, Alan’s painting was selected from 10 submissions, and also won 300€ in prize money.
The artwork selected was a piece painted by Alan a wee while ago, and shows what Carnaval in Olvera might have looked like at the turn of the 20th century. The castle and church in Olvera can be seen towering above the townsfolk as they enjoy Carnaval in the streets of this beautiful little town only 30 minutes away from Ronda.
In Alan’s painting you can see a group of people playing a traditional game of Cancarro where a pottery jug is thrown around the circle, and behind them a swing setup with a rope suspended across the street.
Carnaval in Ronda is also scheduled for February, and below you can see Ronda’s Carnaval poster designed by José María Sabater, known locally as ‘Chemi’, a popular computer design artist.
Carnaval is a time of great celebration in Spain, and whilst not as flamboyent as those in Brazil they are certainly still very enjoyable. Look out for grand processions, street parties, and side show alley at the feria grounds in Ronda.
In the streets children will be eating candy floss, holding aloft balloons, singing Carnaval songs, and playing games. All told, Carnaval is a time when Spaniards let their hair down and party.
Edit: You can get the itinerary for Ronda’s 2010 Semana Santa processions here.
The poster advertising Semana Santa 2010 in Ronda has been announced by the Hermandades del Huerto, Prendimiento y Gitanos, showing a photograph of one of the icons inside Ronda’s many churches.
Clothed in a red tunic with gold leaf, and supported by an angel, the float has already won the hearts and minds of Ronda’s Christians many of whom are delighted to see it featured on the poster used to promote the Holy Week in Ronda.
The poster was designed by Jesus Lopez and Ana Belen Cabrera who took the photo during Semana Santa 2009.
This year sees Easter fall between the 15th and 24th of April, though the official calendar of events for the week has yet to be finalised.
Holy Week, known as Semana Santa in Spanish, is a week of religious processions and fiestas, and is a bigger celebration than Christmas. Through Semana Santa each of the Catholic Brotherhoods of Ronda host their own processions, and most pass through Plaza del Socorro to receive blessings from senior priests in Ronda.
Also in 2010, the new Museum of the Fraternities will open in the old court building on Calle Armiñan, thus making 2010 an important year for Semana Santa festivities in Ronda. The Holy Week festivities in Ronda are amongst the most important in Andalucía, so the museum has been described by Luis Candelas, president of the Association of Fraternities and Brotherhoods as a welcome addition to Ronda’s initiatives.
In the English speaking world we know the 6th of January as the day of Epiphany, the day when the three wise men arrived from the orient bearing gifts for the baby Jesus. In the Christian calendar an important day, but usually not celebrated, and certainly not a public holiday.
In Spain this isn’t the case. The 5th and 6th of January together were traditionally bigger causes for celebration than Christmas Day. Some traditional families still consider the 6th to be the real Christmas celebration. Here it isn’t called the day of Epiphany, in Spain, the 6th of January is el Día de los Reyes, the three kings day.
Thousands of Rondeños braved the cold weather and occasional drizzle to watch los Reyes as they and their friends paraded through the streets of Ronda, beginning in the square near the Almocabar gates in the Barrio de San Francisco, then winding their way through Calle Armiñan, before turning onto La Bola, Calle Capitan Ramón y Cajal, and then Calle Pozo before finishing at the la Merced church.
Children all over Spain write letters to their favourite of the three wise men, Melchor, Gaspar, or Baltasar telling them what they want for to receive. The parade on night of the 5th is a time when los Reyes arrive in town to distribute the presents the children have asked for, so of course the parade is very well attended.
This year los Reyes threw tens of thousands of sweets, hard fruit flavoured sweets, and softer caramel toffees. The crowds got in to the swing of things shouting ‘Caramelo, Caramelo’ at every float that passed.
Cardboard cutouts of a king were thrown from the first float, whilst the second threw confetti. By the time the sweets were thrown everyone was holding aloft their cardboard king, though you’d be forgiven for not recognising a soul with the amount of confetti covering them.
After the sweets came the plastic eye patches, more sweets, and then more sweets, and still the crowd were chanting ‘Caramelo, Caramelo’.
Each year a different barrio hosts the parade, so of course the route changes from year to year as well. The brotherhoods of the Barrio de San Francisco put on a great parade this year, with many of our young Rondeños favourite characters in attendance.
The morning of the 6th Ronda’s children will be eagerly rushing to the door where they left their shoes the night before, one pair for each child in the house. Good children get presents, naughty children get a lump of coal, though we suspect nobody will receive a lump of coal this year.
Our photos were taken with a phone camera so aren’t fantastic, but on the other hand we were there to enjoy the parade with friends and family. Why not plan a trip to Ronda next Christmas and join us for the parade.
The 4th of December was the day the Christmas lights went on in Ronda, heralding the start of the Christmas holiday season, which in Spain extends through to the 6th January.
Christmas in Spain is unlike English speaking countries. Here the 25th of December is a religious holiday, whilst the 5th of January, known as the three kings day, is the important day for giving gifts. Of course Hollywood’s influence means this is becoming muddled and children in Spain often get presents on the 25th and 5th.
Switching on the Christmas lights is an important occasion, made even more special as this is a long weekend celebrating two holidays, Constitution Day on the 6th, and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on the 8th.
The streets of Ronda were filled with people coming out to see this years lights, and to mix and mingle with friends in coffee shops, start the Christmas present buying spree, and enjoy the fresh evening air before the cold of winter really hits us.
The excitement was contagious, children were running and playing, calling to each other, staring with wild eyes in the windows of the shops with nativity scenes or Santa decorations, and Rondeños of all ages couldn’t contain themselves.
Several of the churches held special evening Mass services, so many in Ronda were wearing their Sunday best, though many more weren’t, being content to simply walk and enjoy the evening with friends.
The Christmas lights run the length of Carrera Espinel, Calle Sevilla, Virgen de la Paz, Calle Armiñan, Avenida de Málaga, Avenida de Martinez Astein, and are also in Plaza Socorro. The open air nativity is in the bandstand in Plaza Socorro.
While walking down La Bola taking the photos you see below, our friendly local busker was dressed as Santa playing Christmas songs on his accordion while singing “Merry Christmas” over and over again. We wondered if he knew the words and was just singing what he did know. Sadly the battery on the camera went flat and I wasn’t able to capture his Christmas spirit.
Since the inception of the Corrida Goyesca in Ronda’s September fair in 1954, the ladies of Ronda have been the official representatives of the city, and welcoming committee for visiting dignitaries.
The role is exceptionally demanding, not only from the responsibility of the role, but also from the demanding schedule of training, and gown fittings before the build up to the week’s festivities.
So exceptionally popular have been the Dames Goyesca, that in 2009, a bronze statue of a Goyesca lady was inaugurated in Alameda park, directly across from the statue of Pedro Romero, Ronda’s most famous bullfighter.
Every year a president of the Dames Goyesca is chosen, usually she is a woman well respected in Ronda, someone who has earned the affection of the people of Ronda, and who is held up as a model of womanhood for others to emulate.
At the same time, fourteen younger Rondeñas are picked to support the president in her duties, typically the younger Dames Goyesca will be in their teens, and of course chosen for their beauty, as well as their grace.
The Goyesca Ladies
Every year in Ronda several of the town’s ladies are chosen to be the Dames Goyescas, and represent the ladies seen in some of Francisco de Goya’s paintings of bullfighting and pageantry from the late 18th century. Many of Goya’s paintings were in fact commissioned by a tapestry workshop in Madrid, the aim being to print the paintings on fabric.
When Goya painted his portraits of nobility, the fashion of the day was for colourful fabrics, and matching accessories such as shoes, fans, hairpieces etc. The gowns worn by Ronda’s Dames Goyesca are not exact copies of those seen in Goya’s paintings, instead they are designed to reflect the matador designs seen in Goya’s paintings of Pedro Romero, so can be said to be complimentary rather than historically correct.
Some art historians argue Goya’s paintings of the Duchess of Alba are the inspiration for the gowns worn by the Dames Goyesca, and to a lesser extent this might be true, in that many of the simpler gowns worn by the Dames Goyesca are very reminiscent. The more complex designs however have been developed in the 20th century in response to perceived fashions of the 18th century, and as such are even more stunning and beautiful than they would have been.
Each outfit can cost many thousands of Euros, everything is custom made to suit the lady, right down to handmade shoes and lace shawls. In addition, each Goyesca lady usually has another gown for less formal occasions, and perhaps a third for specific medal ceremonies.
The Pedro Romero Feria in Ronda is the biggest carnival event in Ronda’s social calendar, a week of partying, of live shows, of fairground rides and attractions, and of course culminating in the Corrida Goyesca, the only bullfight to occur in Ronda’s famous Plaza de Toros.
Wednesday the 2nd of September 2009 was a special day, this was the day of the feria parade, a 3 hour extravaganza that departed from Alameda and the Plaza de Toros, and then snaked it’s way up La Bola, onto Avenida de Málaga, before turning down into the fair grounds near the hospital.
Carnival atmosphere reigned in Ronda, well before the parade began balloon sellers were offering large silver balloons in the shape of animals, aeroplanes and other things for 5€, and woe betide any child who let go, the balloon quickly ascended, and reached the heavens, never to be seen again.
2009 was my first year seeing the parade, though I’ve seen other parades in bigger cities in the UK, Germany, the USA, but little Ronda put on a show worthy of the biggest of cities. One can only speculate at the amount of money invested in giving Rondeños such a spectacle, but it was worth it. Despite the gloomy economy, on parade day everyone wore a smile.
Just as the sun set over Ronda the parade reached Avenida de Málaga, a great shout rang around the crowd who had been waiting for an hour or more, and then the first sign that something was happening. The Policia Local quickly cleared the road of balloon and sweet sellers, and leading the parade, a group of riders on horseback, looking resplendent in period costume from the late 18th century.
It wasn’t long till the great big animals, Tigger the Tiger, and his Disney friends appeared along with 100 children in colourful outfits, then dancers, acrobats, larger than life insects that attacked the crowd, Ronda’s brass bands, and too many other floats to mention.
At last, the moment everyone had been waiting the longest for, the Goyesca Ladies on their float that looked like the Palace of Versaille on wheels, the President atop her thrown, and the other dames waving from balconies below her.
What a parade! Incredible effort must have been expended, and all this in a small town in Southern Spain. 2010 will be a must see parade, and if you have the chance to book a hotel room in anticipation of being in Ronda for the feria, do it now, there is not time to waste.
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