From the month of December, the students of English as a Second Language from Alonso Cano High School of Second Year of Post Compulsory Education, are going to write a series of articles in this magazine. Our main aim is to know and let others know about the most important festivals, celebrations, news and curiosities in our area to know and share our traditions and daily life in the valley. This will be a way to use the English language as a way to provide information and value our heritage. To achieve this major goal, articles will be written both in English and Spanish to reach all communities who live in our Valley and put into practise what we learn in the High School. For the English version we have read some websites in English such as http://www.adurcal.com among others. We would also like to thank Denise Collyer for her help in revising the English versions of these documents. Let’s start….
The Lecrin Valley is an area at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It is a perfect holiday destination, because it is near the city of Granada and especially, there is a short distance to the coast and to the mountains. The Lecrin Valley is made up of 17 villages or towns: Albuñuelas, Dúrcal; El Padul ; El Pinar-Pinos del Valle,Ízbor-; El valle -Melegís, Restábal,Saleres-;Lecrín- Acequias ,Chite, Béznar, Mondújar, Murchas, Talará -; Nigüelas;Villamena- Cónchar, Cozvíjar-. Dúrcal and El padul are the towns which have a bigger area. The Lecrin Valley is famous for its landscape and because there is a lot of water as it is near Sierra Nevada. The citrus trees are the most abundant, as oranges and lemons. There are figs too, pomegranates and cactus.
The history in the Valley traces back to Neanderthal. The Romans built baths here due to the thermal springs. We can also find ruins of a castle in Mondujar…but we will write about this in another occasion. Today we will mainly concentrate on the main festivals and celebrations in the area this month.
Talará, December 8 Patron Saint’s Day of the Immaculate.
Talará is the geographical centre of the Valley. It has got a long established festival celebrated on the national holiday, the Immaculate Virgin day. There is also a celebration with “El Cristo del Zapato”-The Christ of the Shoe, a picture of Jesus at the cross with modern shoes in his feet! His image is taken out of his chapel and there is a procession, a parade to the church of the Virgin of Sorrows. Be careful, it is really steep!
Murchas, December 25, Rosary of the Crosses.
The rosary, group prayer in honour of Virgin Mary, is sung by the locals. People
cambioshoot fireworks rounds, recalling the earthquake of 1884 which forced them to live outside the village, so they fired shots into the air to scare off anyone hoping to sack the houses that had been destroyed.
Restábal, December 25, Patron Saint’s Day of St Christopher
In olden times, Restábal had a chapel dedicated to the patron saint of travellers on the Royal Road linking Granada and Motril. On this date, a dance is held in a covered marquee. The image of the saint is taken out on procession, and games are organised. There are chocolate with churros, flamenco performances, Christmas carols. It is for free!
Ízbor, December 25, Fiesta of St Joseph.
Ízbor, is located on a steep slope descending to the river and combines the architecture and natural scenery of the Alpujarras, the coast and the Valley; it permits to celebrate Christmas with open air festivals. In Ízbor, the ancient and the modern live together. People eat “chicharrones”, fried pork meat, and drink red wine. It is in the church square
We cannot forget December 28th, or Dia de los Inocentes: Day of the Innocents. or Spanish All Fools’ Day. According to the website www.andalucia.com, the history of the day is based on the Bible when King Herod heard that a new King of the Jewshad been born (Jesus). Herod ordered all infant boys under the age of two in Bethlehem and its vicinity to be killed. The day was named for the many innocent souls that were lost that night.
Today, the atmosphere of the celebration is festive and fun, with people playing jokesThe most traditional joke is to put a puppet or paper cut-out on people’s backs – they are the inocentadas, Even the media joins in, reporting on fake news stories in the newspapers and on TV and the internet. Check this year and find the inocentada!!
After so many celebrations you might feel starved! Autumn is the time for quince, chestnuts and pomegranate or granada, as the name of our province. Try to add some seeds to your salads and you will get a fantastic and colourful touch, or as a special dessert known as granadas al vino tinto -different from pomegranate wine! Combine quince cheese also known as quince jelly with assorted cheeses as a starter or dessert decorated with grapes or nuts, a good tip for these Christmas holiday dinners. Vanilla-poached quince is also an autumn classic in many Spanish houses. There are beautiful landscapes to pick up chestnuts such as…. you can either roast them with a special pan or put them in the fire . These special pans can be bought at the open-air market or mercadillo or in any of the local ironmonger’s. You can also recycle old pans by making some holes at the bottom with a nail and a hammer. Ready to enjoy autumn?