September in Andalusia: the kids go back to school, the flight prices fall, but the temperatures remain in the low 30s (high 80s Fahrenheit) and there's still 9 hours of sunshine a day. For those seeking a late-summer getaway, Andalusia is an excellent low-cost, sunshine-soaked destination, and there's always plenty going on in and around Ronda. For starters, the biggest festival on Ronda's calendar: the Feria Goyesca de Pedro Romero.
The September Feria has been a Ronda tradition for over a hundred years and if you love fancy dress and a huge party, this one's for you. The whole town dresses in the 18th century 'Goyasque' style: a name derived from the Spanish artist Francisco Goya's paintings of the age. Although the main event of the feria is a bullfight, with the name of the festival even being changed in 1954 to honour Ronda's most famous toreador, Pedro Romero, it's still an event not-to-be-missed even for those of us uncomfortable with the tradition. The excitement, flamboyant parades, flamenco, street vendors and the incredible horsemanship of the Real Maestranza de Caballería (Royal School of Cavalry) of Ronda: in the words of the poet Salvador Rueda, "Everything is joy, everything life, everything shines, everything jumps".
This year's festival starts a little earlier than usual on the 28th of August, kicking off in the cool of the evening with a spectacular pageant. Events and displays continue throughout the week, with the feria ending on 3rd September.
Next up on September's calendar of events are the Grape Harvest Festivals (Feria de la Vendimia).
The biggest of these take place in Jérez de la Frontera and Córdoba, with traditional displays of bare-foot grape-crushing, flamenco and horsemanship, but closer to home in Málaga province is the town of Mollina's Feria de la Vendimia. Over the weekend of 8th to 10th September, the town celebrates the end of the grape harvest with wine-tasting, nightly parties, craft fairs and a bicycle ride through the town. There's also the exciting carrera de cintas (horse-riding competition where riders collect ribbons hung overhead).
Also on the 8th September in Maro, next to the beautiful seaside town of Nerja, is a celebration for their patron saint, the Virgen de las Maravillas. The image is paraded through the streets, accompanied by rockets and fireworks (the volume depends on how the crops grew during the year).
For music lovers, Saturday 16th September is a traditional day in Málaga for celebrating the verdiales style of flamenco. Benagalbón hosts a spectacular meeting of verdiales bands, each composed of about twenty people dressed in hats decorated with flowers and coloured ribbons, playing guitar, violin, tambourine and cymbals. A delightfully cheerful festival in which you can enjoy the traditional music of Málaga - unmissable if you are in the province that weekend.
The following day (Sunday 17th September) join the party in El Borge for the “Día de la Pasa” (Day of the Raisin). This festival has become one of the most visited in the Axarquia and honours the flagship product of this beautiful Málaga town: the raisin. The party lasts all day with dancing and singing in the main square, and a lunch of sausages accompanied by Muscat wine, followed by dessert: a handful of raisins, of course!
Rounding of the month from 29th September to 1st October, the town of Cártama is transformed for a few days into the Al-Andalus village it once was for the Noches de la Bella Jarifa (Nights of the Beautiful Jarifa), reenacting the trials and tribulations of the lovers Abindarráez and Jarifa. Thanks to the collaboration of shops, bars, restaurants and locals from the town, it has become an important festivity in which the number of visitors increases every year. Its streets are lit with candles and are adorned by a medieval market with over 100 stalls offering all types of craft products, cured meats, cheeses and sweets, etc.
With around 3,000 fiestas a year in Andalusia, these are just a selection of our favourites for September. There are days to celebrate anchovies, cheese and soups, and Royal Fairs, so if you would like to visit a particular town or find out more information for your specific visit dates, simply contact us and we will be delighted to assist you.