Christmas in Malaga's villages: a return to tradition
House facades decorated with Christmas lights, the Christmas carols that are sung in the streets, squares and churches celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. All this is Christmas in the villages of the province of Málaga. This age-old tradition is still alive today, and the familiar sweets, "borrachuelos" and "mantecados", and "pestiños", remind us of the arrival of the New Year as before.
Sounds of Christmas
One of the more traditional is to see church music groups called pastorales in places like Almáchar, Ojén or Casarabonela, where they are most clearly present. The participants perform with whimsical instruments and, to the sound of drums, tambourines, cymbals and drumsticks, they turn the sound of popular folklore into a soundtrack for the local Christmas festivities.
This tradition is so widespread that the "pastorales" hold a competition on the first weekend in December in the village of Benaque, which attracts the best ensembles from all over the province of Málaga.
The iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Rosario in Macharaviaya organises an annual meeting to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the famous writer Salvador Rueda, the Spanish forerunner of modernism.
Music fills every corner with the municipality of Istán in December. In this village in the Sierra de las Nieves, locals sing traditional Christmas carols, accompanied by traditional instruments, which they call 'zambombeo'. Typical delicacies are the 'roscos de vino' (wine bagels) and 'buñuelos', which are truly culinary creations.
Gastronomy and folklore for the whole family
Although traditional sweets are the product that best represents Christmas gastronomy, the town of Torrox hosts a fiesta in honour of the main local product, the breadcrumb dish known as "migas", hence the name Fiesta de las Migas.
Every Sunday leading up to Christmas is a fiesta, the perfect opportunity to sample the local speciality which is always eaten with a salad of oranges and sardines, known as the "salade de las migas" and accompanied by the local wine.
Music and dancing accompany the meal, with stalls and mobile shops set up in the streets offering reasonably priced souvenirs and products that capture the unforgettable flavour of Málaga.
Want some advice?
Make sure you try the "arropias", a special honey candy that looks like caramel and is made with molasses cane and is really delicious.
If you decide to stop in Villanueva de la Concepción for Christmas, you can join the locals in celebrating the Feast of Our Lady in what is known as the Fiesta del Día de Jeva. The celebration takes place on 25 December in the chapel located south of the Paraje Natural de El Torcal (El Torcal Nature Reserve), which is part of the municipality of Antequera.
This is also where the "verdiales" (a particular style of flamenco and fandango) gather and where tastings of local "mantecados" sweets, buns and strong infusions are held. On the Costa del Sol, even in the smallest of villages, Christmas festivities are filled with all kinds of activities, many of them designed just for the whole family.
Theatrical processions, concerts, children's shows or storytelling fill the streets, squares and cultural centres with magic. Are you ready for a trip to the villages of Málaga to spend Christmas with the family?
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