…the prodigal returns

Back where we came from, reluctant returnees.

A new festival for Yunquera! Chestnuts & Wine 2009


I’ve mentioned before how ambitious our town hall is in Yunquera. They somehow manage to obtain loads of EU funding for local projects, making sure that everyone who wants to work gets a bit of employment.

It’s great, because it’s really important in a small mountain village like this that they keep people working, or they will leave for the cities. This happened throughout Spain post-war – no work could be found locally, so the men either went to France or Switzerland to work, or the whole family moved. Even now, you can find abandoned villages in parts of Spain.

But I digress. For the first time ever, Yunquera has a new festival! It’s called Castañas y Vino (chestnuts and wine), which makes sense, as it’s just past the grape harvest and just at the chestnut harvest!

This festival was unusual in that artesans of the area were encouraged to bring their products to Yunquera and sell them during the fiesta. The town hall supplied little booths for each seller, at no charge. Some of the products were mystifyingly ‘foreign’ in their origin (hats and jewelery, for example), but others, such as Miguel’s pork “Iberica Yunquera” products and Teva cheese, were of and from the area. Next year – Lujos hopes to occupy one of the booths!

Also featured at the fiesta was a traditional musical group, performing a “Verdiales”, which is the oldest type of music in the Malaga region – often now considered folk music. (The Verdial is also a variety of olive from this region). Some say that the verdiales songs are Moorish in origin since they had the same melodies as Arab songs accompanied by the lute.

As you will see in the video, a variety of instruments are used – violin, tambourine, guitar and castanets. The Verdiales dance forms may consist of an individual man, a couple, or three together. In the video, the senior member of the group swings the national flag known as bailar la bandera.

We really enjoyed the festival, and hopefully you will, too!

Author: Ann Larson

One-time IT executive who lives on a 22 acre olive farm in Spain with husband Kenton and 2 boxer dogs. We make Yunquera Gold olive oil, and soap and skincare products from same. We aim to make natural, fresh, and handmade products at affordable prices!

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