It was declared of Tourist Interest in 2003.
During this holiday week, Cuevas del Almanzora becomes a municipality which lives and represents the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ in an unforgettable way.
The first procession is held the Friday of Sorrows, with an opening speech and a concert of religious music, followed by the procession of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Sorrows and Our Father Jesus of Nazareth.
The Palm Sunday a mass is said at 11:00 a.m. in the morning in the Church of the Encarnación, in which the palm leaves that have been previously given to all the attendees are blessed. After that, the procession takes place, and they return again to the Church to continue the mass. In the evening, a live representation of the Jesus’s entrance into Jerusalem is held in the Glorieta Sotomayor.
The night processions begin on Holy Monday, with the representation of the Stations of the Cross by the Brotherhood of the Holy Christ of Forgiveness.
On Holy Tuesday, the procession of the Virgin of las Angustias is held, this is the only paso (image or set of images set atop a moveable float of wood) in the Holy Week of Cuevas that is carried by women on their shoulders.
On Holy Wednesday, Saint John Evangelist and the Virgin of La Esperanza, popularly known as “La Macarena”, are carried by costaleros (people who carry the floats) on their shoulders.
On Maundy Thursday, Mª Santísima de los Dolores and Our Father Jesus Nazarene go in procession, Our Father Jesus is carried by carriers with their face covered. At dawn, the procession of the Christ of los Galeras takes place, which is guarded during the entire night in the hermitage of Calvary and it is returned to the Church of la Encarnación the day after.
In the morning of Good Friday, the Passion and Death of Jesus are performed. It is composed of bible passages represented by all the brotherhoods of the municipality together with the “Judea” a living and unique representation in the world. It is based on the bible scene in which 7 or 8 people go with Jesus in his way to the crucifixion carrying a wood cross on his back.
At night, the procession of the Holy Burial of Christ takes place, in which the Brotherhood of María Santísima de los Dolores participates accompanying her son Jesus, who has already died. This is a very solemn and silent procession in which women wear a black lace mantilla and accompany the Sepulcher.
On Easter Sunday, one of the oldest and most traditional processions in Cuevas takes place. It is organised by the Brotherhood of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad. This procession represents the Meeting of Jesus with his mother Mary. Its special characteristic is that as the religious images pass through the different streets of the town, the neighbours throw petals to them from their balconies.
All the religious pasos described previously are accompanied by brotherhoods composed of nazarenos (hooded penitents) and costaleros (people who carry the floats) properly dressed up and six music bands of the own municipality, that together with people’s hospitality and spring weather make that Cuevas del Almanzora becomes an ideal destination to spend this holiday week.
At Christmas, the happy and funny festivals of the suburbs take place: the first one is celebrated in the suburb of las Maravillas, in honour of the Virgin of the same name.
The first of January, the festivals of La Portilla take place in honour of the Virgin of Carmen, on 3rd January the festivals of El Rulador in honour of the known as “Our Virgin”, on 5th January the festivals of the Bravo quarter in commemoration of the Virgin of Carmen and on 17th January, the festival of Saint Anthony the Abbot, patron saint of animals. This last one is considered as one of the oldest and well-known festival in the municipality. All the traditional celebrations begin with a passacaglia at dawn through the streets of the town. The Brotherhoods offer a typical meal to the citizens at midday, and then, the processions of their holy images take place, and, as usual, the final fireworks put the final touch to these festivals in the suburbs.
The festivals of our numerous districts are also of great relevance, such as Palomares and Los Lobos, which are held at the beginning of August, and Villaricos, Pozo del Esparto and El Calón which are held on 15th August. And Guazamara festivals are held at the beginning of October.
It is one of the festive events of highest popular significance; it keeps almost unchanging the tradition of the masks. Such masks wear old, worn-out and old-fashioned clothes and also they carry numerous thin gummies. Their purpose is deforming the body, hiding the face and changing the voice to avoid being recognised. These also wear a characteristic element of this event, the shell: it is made of an eggshell filled up with confetti, with the purpose of smashing it into the parade attendees’ head.
The burial of the sardine is considered as a unique festive event. It begins the night before the Ash Wednesday with the wake, the characters are dressed up with a sheet and a candle and they announce the Sardine’s death. On Wednesday, the funeral cortege begins, it is formed by two young people who open the cortege with their processional candlesticks, a mass officiant dressed up with a cape and a miter and he also holds a piece of salted fresh lard with the shape of a missal, and such book has spicy pork sausage and black pudding inside. The funeral cortege is also accompanied by four mourning widowers who carry a huge sardine on their shoulders and the widow, who is represented by a man and is the main character of this performance. This sardine is also accompanied by numerous widowers who wear a black cape, a red scarf and tie, a black top hat and umbrella.
Old Lady’s Day
This is a very popular festivity which dates from 17th century. It arose as a brotherhood retreat because it was promoted by a Franciscan community of the hermitage of San Diego in the Calvary with the purpose of making more easygoing the lent sacrifices. Nowadays it has become a lovely and family day. It is held on the Thursday in the middle of Lent period, and it consists of spending a day out in the country with family and friends, tasting typical dishes of this area such as Spanish potato omelette, cod fritters, rice pudding, hornazo (sweet and dry bread decorated with hard-boiled egg), etc…
The main character of this event is “the old lady”, who is a woman made of colour papers, which wears a dress, an apron and a headscarf. Its face is covered with cloth paint with two big rouges and its head is filled up with sweets. Its body is made of a reed, therefore it stands up. Once people have had lunch, this peculiar old lady is placed approximately 6 meters far from people and began to throw stones to it, until it is completely destroyed and the sweets can be extracted from the head.
San Diego Festival
It takes place in the mid of November, because on 13th November is celebrated San Diego de Alcalá’s saint, the patron saint of Cuevas del Almanzora.
The chupinazo (firing of a rocket) marks the start of the festival and every year a different celebrity launches it from the Town Hall’s balcony. Then, the lighting of the festival venue is carried out and one of the most important festivals in the East of Almería begins.
The festival venue is located in the surroundings of the Luis Siret park, which is dressed to the nines and decorated with rides, street vendor kiosks, snack bars and stands, where the local people and outsiders may enjoy the festive atmosphere.
At night, the warming welcome and the happy character of people is felt in the entire venue. The best live concerts and the most famous orchestras meet in the Nave Polivalente. The stands, which have been decorated with typical items, are crowded with people who are willing to have a good time.
At midday, the festival venue becomes a meeting point for families, friends and women who wear the typical flamenco dresses and add the hint of colour to this festival. Everybody enjoys singing, dancing and tasting the typical dishes of the cuisine in Cuevas, that have been prepared with the greatest care and love by the members of the brotherhoods and associations that set up the stands.
We can also walk, visit and buy in the numerous street vendor kiosks that surprise people every year because of the great amount and variety of items they offer.
PILGRIMAGE GUAZAMARA-LOS GUIRAOS
It began in 1996. As usual, it is celebrated on the third Sunday of May. To collect money for organizing this pilgrimage, the commission organizes different activities such as the publication of an advertising book of the businesses in the area, or the sale of lottery tickets, amongst other activities. Furthermore, the Town Hall also contributes giving money for the orchestra, the local police, etc.
The Pilgrimage lasts three days: Friday, Saturday and Sunday. During these three days, different meals are prepared for the attendees such as paella, boiled potatoes with garlic and oil dressing or grilled sardines. On Sunday, a mass is said at 7 p.m in honour of the Virgin of Purísima Concepción. This Pilgrimage ends with hot chocolate and churros (sweet fritters) at midnight.
PILGRIMAGE OF THE ELDERLY IN CUEVAS DEL ALMANZORA
At the beginning, this pilgrimage was directed to the elderly of Cuevas but nowadays it has become a traditional festivity for everybody. Usually, it takes place the last weekend of April. It begins with a float parade from the Elderly Centre of Cuevas del Almanzora towards “La Olla” spot, where they camp the entire day. There, huge paella is made for all the attendees, that, in addition to this, they prepare their own picnics. As usual, the participants of the pilgrimage make a floral tribute to the Virgin of Carmen and sing the Salve Rociera. Then, the party continues with music and dance performed by a local group.
PILGRIMAGE OF PALOMARES
It began in 2003 and it was promoted by the Commission of the Brotherhood of the Virgin of Carmen. Usually, it takes place during the first week of September and it is held during two days: Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday morning the floats begin the procession behind the religious image of the Virgin of Carmen and pass through the entire village up to they arrive the known “Forest of Palomares”. There a Mass is said in honour of the Virgin of Carmen, and then paella is made for all the attendees. At night, the attendees are given the typical grilled sardines. Many of the attendees spend the night in this forest accompanied by the performance of a dance and music group.