The Burning Festival. Algarrobo. September. 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.
During the Peninsular War, guerrillas were a decisive factor in thwarting the French army—especially in the Axarquía region, where the French domination was seriously endangered.
In view of the Spanish Monarchy's naivety, the French misused the permission they had been granted to traverse Spain in order to, presumably, make their way to Portugal (a shared enemy). Instead, they invaded Spain in an outstanding move. As a result of the poor performance of the Spanish corps, mountain people formed guerrillas that weakened the French army with continuous attacks, exploiting the surprise factor. Also, the enemy troops were not familiar with the territory, which would grant the rebels greater power to ambush them in strategic locations and, above all, to escape from retaliation.
Algarrobo remembers one of its historical episodes every year and celebrates the failed "burning" of the village during the Peninsular War.
An entire weekend (usually the 3rd of September) is devoted to this fascinating story that interweaves history and legend. Colourful parades, equestrian shows, awards ceremonies, local cuisine, and a re-enactment performance await all visitors during these joyful festivities.
The festival will take you back to 1811—in particular, to the 24th of September, when Napoleon's army was sent to burn down this town of the Axarquía. To this end, Commander Bellangé and its Company of the 58th Regiment made their way to the village. Meanwhile, a Captain Ricard's column was assaulted in Algarrobo on the 23rd of September, causing the death of 12 French soldiers. Bellangé responded quickly, and the very next day he sent his entire military force in search of José Segovia, the man behind these deaths, whom he never managed to apprehend. Indeed, the guerrillas were strong enough to face the armies. Alongside the rebels, the residents reacted strenuously by asking the French authorities in Málaga for mercy—and succeeding.