In Málaga, the same as in all Andalusia, the Easter is the
most ingrained tradition. Solemn religiousness, festivity, dramatism, luxury,
colourfulness and sobriety are mixed during this week in the streets of Málaga. But
Easter goes beyond the processions in the towns of the province. The tradition not only
stages the Passion, simulating the meetings and partings like the one on Good Friday in
Alora, but it almost reaches the category of great auto sacramental in some
representations of the Passion, such as the ones which take place in Benalmádena and
Riogordo, known as El Paso or the float. Another curious tradition tied to
this religious celebration is the one which takes place in Salares with the name of
jolgorio or merriment. It consists of a procession of Easter Sunday in which
the men accompany an image of the baby Jesus, and the women follow the virgin, forming a
merriment when both meet. In Iznate, on the same Sunday morning, it is customary for an
inhabitant of the town to bury an image of Christ in the cemetery which is later sought by
During carnival there are processions with carts,
fancy dress competitions, masquerades, street bands, and jokes (with undoubtable Cadiz
influence), emphasizing these types of celebrations, not only in the capital but also in
Ronda and Torrox.
At Lent, in some towns such as Arriate and Cuevas del Becerro, they have a curious tradition called breaking the old woman, which consists of destroying a symbolic doll of an old woman during the day in the countryside. Its a case of taking a day off as a break from the penitence period.
On San Marcos day the 25th of April, they practice a game in El Burgo and Cuevas de San Marcos, with obviously magical reminiscences, which receives the name of tying the devils tail or tying the devil. This consists of tying a knot with the stalk of a plant without this breaking as this will be a good omen.The Crosses of May doesnt have the tradition in Málaga as in other towns in the Andalusian province, but it is a festivity which is being recuperated with more strength each time. Coín, Jubrique, Nerja and Torrox are perhaps the towns with the most influence. They often celebrate a competition to reward the best crosses in each town.
The Corpus is another festivity with great tradition in which the religious fervour is combined with the artistic samples of decorated balconies and fronts, the carpeting of the streets with real flowers, all to emphasize the course of the procession which will take place that day.
The tradition of fire joined to the festivity reappears with the night of San Juan in almost all the province. One of the most outstanding acts of the night is burning the juas (Judas), especially in the capital, where the brooks which traverse it, some squares, and above all, the beaches, are filled with bonfires which burn from midnight among the booming of rockets and strings of fireworks, and the festivities and celebrations last until dawn.
During the summer there is the festivity of the Virgen del Carmen on the 16th of July, a marine festivity which is celebrated all along the coast with showy nautical processions in which the virgin is placed in a boat full of flowers and lights and sails along the coast near the shore of each town, amid songs, acclaims, rockets, and the sound of sirens from the boats which escort her.
Some localities in Málaga also celebrate the Moors and Christians festivities during the summer, which are more traditional in the Spanish east, but have a particularly local significance here, as they are associated with the Moorish rebellions, as in the case of Alfarnate where the Virgin of Monsalud is kidnapped by the Moors and later recuperated by the Christian groups. As well as in Alfarnate from the 12th to the 16th of September, they also celebrate this festivity in Benalmádena from the 4th to 5th of August, and in Benadalid from the 27th to the 29th of August.
The end of the agricultural labours at the end of August and beginning of September, give the origins to many harvesting festivities and celebrations which generally coincide with the patron saints festivities or main festivities. Another peculiarity of some festivities is related with the promotion of the lands products, such as with the peach in Periana or the Wine Night in Cómpeta.
The numerous pilgrimages must be mentioned, in which the neighbours of the towns participate, dressed in the regional or local outfits, many on horse back or in carts which are decorated with flowers and branches. The pilgrimages are celebrated around a chapel where they keep the patron saint of the town, and there is also a procession with the image on a day out in the countryside where they eat all sorts of food, sing, and dance.
The verdiales, the Málaga songs and dances with deep popular roots, have their maximum expression in the area of the Málaga mountains and a large part of the Axarquía. Each town has its group which interpretates with slight variations according to the place, but which are definitely a manifestation of the popular folklore full of colour for the spectacular crafted hats they wear which have showy flowers, pieces of mirror, and multicoloured ribbons. On the day of the Santos Inocentes, on the 28th of December, the major fair of the verdiales is celebrated in the Málaga capital, where numerous groups from the neighbouring towns are united, and there is a concentration of thousands of people from Málaga during the whole day to enjoy the festive atmosphere.
And finally, there is the bull festivity which is one of the towns largest cultural manifestations, and which in the case of Málaga is endorsed by an age-old tradition from the Ronda school. Their spectacular bullfighting ring built in 1785 and the fair of Pedro Romero in September in which the Goya bullfight takes place. The bulls occupy an important place in the popular celebrations, above all in places like Málaga, Ronda, Antequera, and some localities of the Costa del Sol as a tourist offer.