GRANADA – The very special Cascamorras festival began today in the neighbouring towns of Guadix and Baza in the province of Granada, Andalucia. Like most festivals in Spain, it has a very interesting origin.
The Cascamorras festival takes place between these towns and dates back to the middle ages when – as the story goes- a worker who lived in Guadix discovered a statue of the Virgen de la Piedad (Our Lady of Mercy) while he was working in Baza. He attempted to take the statue back home with him to Guadix. However, the villagers stopped him before he was able to leave Baza. He was punished for this as it was considered a sacred theft. But when he returned to his own village empty handed, the villagers there were angry. Consequently, they took out their rath on the villagers of Baza. Thus they became “enemies”.
Nowadays, the tale is re-enacted each year on September 6, when someone from the village of Guadix is chosen and attempts to steal the statue from Baza. This year, David Marcoz Ramírez has been chosen as Cascamorras. Dressed in a colourful jester´s outfit, he is followed by hundreds upon hundreds of people enroute for the 46km distance.
At the same time, the residents of Baza try to stop him and the following crowds by throwing paint, and burnt oil as they chase him through the town. Villagers pour water from their balconies as the crowds run through the narrow lanes. Finally, on the 9th, they give up and return to the village in Guadix. When they arrive without the statue, the villagers are also unhappy, and more paint and oil is thrown.
A festive atmosphere
The Cascamorras festival is not just about paint and rivalry; it’s a celebration of Spanish culture and tradition. Throughout the day, you can enjoy live music, traditional dances, and local cuisine. The streets are lined with stalls selling delicious Spanish treats, and the air is filled with the sounds of revellers.
The fiery end
As evening falls, the Cascamorras returns to Baza, either successful in his quest or empty-handed, depending on whether he managed to reclaim the stolen statue or not. Regardless of the outcome, the day concludes with a spectacular fireworks display that lights up the night sky, bringing the festivities to an awe-inspiring end.
Visitors from all over the world
While the Cascamorras festival may have originated from a historical rivalry, it has evolved into an event that promotes unity and camaraderie. Today, participants and spectators from all over the world come to witness this incredible spectacle. Moreover, it showcases Spain’s ability to turn a centuries-old dispute into a vibrant and joyous celebration of its unique culture.
The local Feria is also on, and continues until September 15.