Certamen de Pastorales (Pastorales Contest). Macharaviaya. December. 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.
The Axarquía region is rich not only in landscapes and traditions but also in historical heritage. Strangely enough, this remarkable legacy may go unnoticed in Macharaviaya sometimes, whose town centre boasts an 18th century heritage as a result of its magnificent splendour at that time. In those years, the Gálvez family held the highest positions in the Spanish government: José de Gálvez became Minister of the Indies, and Matías and Bernardo de Gálvez became viceroys in America. This lineage was so important that in the middle of the 18th century, the municipality became known as "Little Madrid". The Gálvez family carried out numerous constructions in town that can still be admired—like the monolith at the village entrance, water fountains, washing places, the Royal Playing Card Factory's framework (which managed to have a monopoly on selling card decks in America) and, most importantly, the Church of San Jacinto, which when compared to the small size of the village seems to be more of a cathedral. This church was richly decorated, featuring eight large paintings attributed to Murillo that have not been preserved. The ground floor comprises the family pantheon containing the remains of the Minister.
The inhabitants of this municipality are proud of their history and certainly recognize the importance of the writer Salvador Rueda, their most internationally distinguished fellow countryman. This self-taught author claimed to have learnt management by watching ant colonies work, music by hearing the rain fall, sculpture by imagining shapes in the rock lines, colour art by admiring the sunlight, and poetry by exploring nature. His work included novels, short stories, costumbrista prose, theatre, and poetry. Considered to be the first modernist poet in Spain, he is still much admired in Latin American countries, especially in Cuba, where he was named the "Poet of the Race". In commemoration of Rueda's birth, Benaque—a hamlet in Macharaviaya—celebrates the Pastorales Contest (a Christmas Carol competition) and the Festival Tribute to Salvador Rueda in the old mosque, now the Parish Church of Benaque. During these festivities, Christmas Carol choirs from all over the region will get together to celebrate one of the longest-standing music traditions in the province of Málaga.
The first weekend in December, the village holds the Pastorales Contest, at which all the participating choirs sing both traditional and self-created carols while using their customary instruments such as metallic mortars, hand drums, tambourines, and anise bottles. Some of the creations of the Benaque's Coral choir are dedicated to the poet