Festival de Verdiales (Verdiales Festival). Villanueva de la Concepción. August. 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.
Verdial (traditional flamenco-type music and dancing) is representative of Málaga's culture and in particular of a centuries-old farming culture whose origin remains uncertain for lack of written and historical records. According to scholars such as José María Caballero Bonald, there are archaic and Moorish forms persisting in Verdial. However, Julio Caro Baroja claims that Verdiales Festivals are a collective expression with ancient origins dating back to pre-Roman times, as evidenced by the fact that the most significant celebrations are held to coincide with the winter solstice (Fiesta Mayor de Verdiales or Grand Festival of Verdiales), and the summer solstice (The Magical Night of San Juan).
Nowadays, Verdial is considered to be a unique cultural expression originated in Málaga. Its legacy is passed on from parent to child and reflects every aspect of this Mediterranean culture—including magical, primitive, pagan, religious, joyful, and spiritual elements.
As of 1981, Villanueva de la Concepción has brought together the leading Pandas de Verdiales (performing groups) for the celebration of the most traditional festival in the province of Málaga. The Verdiales Festival in Villanueva de la Concepción became the first of its kind with its performers no longer mixing with the crowds, as was customary. Ever since then, the Pandas have been playing on stage.
All three different forms of the Verdial—Comares, Almogía and Montes—are equally highlighted at the Verdiales Festival competition, and it is thanks to this initiative that the three styles are still known all over the province. The Pandas members are usually dressed in traditional, rural costumes except on the Fiesta Mayor de Verdiales—on the Holy Innocents' day—when they introduce an unusual headgear decked with flowers and also festooned with mirrors, bells, and coloured ribbons.
After the competition is finished, the celebration goes on until the early hours of the morning so that visitors can keep enjoying the local food, drinks and music.