Fiesta en Honor Virgen de los Remedios (Our Lady of the Remedies Festivities). Cártama. April. 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.
At the foot of the mountain range of the same name, Cártama lies as the gateway to the Guadalhorce Valley region bordering La Hoya and Los Montes de Málaga. There is a clear contrast between agricultural plains and rounded hills in the northern area of the municipality, showcasing olive and almond trees overlooking the valley.
Cerro de la Ermita (Hill of the Chapel) can be found among one of these hills, sheltering the Ermita de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios (Hermitage of Our Lady of the Remedies), who is the patron saint of Cártama. From this temple, the Virgin awaits day after day to be paraded from Her hermitage to the Parish of San Pedro on the 22nd of April—the day on which the traditional Bajada de la Virgen (Descent of the Virgin) is celebrated. She is escorted by the faithful, who are usually carrying candles to light up the winding road to the hermitage, surrounded by pines and flowers. Upon her arrival in town, the villagers take her to the Parish of San Pedro, where she will remain until the first Sunday in June.
The 23rd of April is the most important day in Cártama, as it is the day of its patron saint. From very early in the morning, pilgrims from all over Spain and abroad come to visit Her and attend the mass where they commemorate the miracle of Our Lady of the Remedies who cured the people affected by the plague epidemic in 1579.
In the afternoon, there is a delicate blend of soft spring light, and incense, rosemary and orange blossom aromas. Sweet candlelight accompanies Our Lady through the town streets along with the earnestness and devotion of thousands of people.
On the first Sunday in June, the town celebrates La Subía (The Ascent), which is when the Virgin is returned to Her hermitage. From that day on, She will wait patiently for next April to come so She can meet again all the thousands of people who will come to meet her and walk together through the streets of Cártama.
These festivities are held together with another highly traditional event in the municipality known as Feria del Ganado (Cattle Fair), which had its roots in the 16th century. Over time, this fair has become one of the most relevant in the province of Málaga for being the first livestock fair to be held in the year and because of its cattle price. It is a particularly important social event, where an ancient ritual takes place: deals are made in the presence of the correó figure, the person responsible for sealing the deals by joining the hands of the buyer and the seller in an act based on trust, a “gentleman’s agreement”.