Verdiales Festival (San Hilario de Poitiers). Comares. January. Unique Festival
This festival has been declared to be of Tourist Interest by the Provincial Council of Málaga.
Please check with the local Town Hall or Municipal Tourism Office for the festival date before planning any sightseeing activities.
To understand certain things, you sometimes have to admit that truth can surpass fiction. A case in point is the location chosen for this village, which was more than justified a few centuries ago due to defensive purposes but that nowadays can’t help but surprise even the visitor who has previously informed himself about the peculiarities of Comares.
In this case, it is almost pointless to mention the landscape features because the village overlooks to a vast tract of land stretching from the mountains to the sea. Geographical features can be spotted, as well as the existing crops and vegetation in an area that extends far beyond the municipal boundaries. This is the reason why, in all justice, the village is known as “El Balcón de la Axarquía” (The Balcony of the Axarquía).
A feat of arms occurred in Comares on the 13th of January 1442—conterminous with the one thousand seventy-sixth anniversary of the death of Saint Hilary of Poitiers— seems to be the reason why the inhabitants chose the patron saint of the village. In that year, and under the protection of Saint Hilary of Poitiers, who was a man with a deep theological formation, the Mozarabs took up arms against the Comares Muslim rulers. Born in Poitiers (France) at the beginning of the 4th century, where he died in 367, Saint Hilary was formally recognised as a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI in 1851, in appreciation of his significant contributions to the definition of the Trinitarian dogma.
The grateful inhabitants established a new holiday to honour the protection he provided. From that time on, the festivities of San Hilario de Poitiers (patron saint of Comares) are celebrated every 13th of January. The day begins with a solemn Mass in memory of the saint, enlivened by the Panda de Verdiales band and the all-female Rociero Choir “Balcón de la Axarquía”. After the Mass, the saint is earnestly paraded through the streets of Comares, giving way to all the fun in the Balcón de la Axarquía square, where you can dance to an orchestra. Verdiales popular folk music can be heard all day long at different spots in Comares. Its distinctive rhythm, singing and dancing never cease to amaze visitors. By noon, several massive paellas along with some local wine and products—such as cheese, chorizo and blood sausage—will provide us with energy so we can relish this great festive day that extends until the early hours.