Drama at the Romería

I wandered down to the Romería on Sunday to watch Jésus have his annual parade around the place.

It’s nominally a thanks for the good crops and a request for more of the same please. I would have thought watching the moon cycles, not overcropping, and avoiding nasty chemicals might help, but clearly putting the responsibility onto an invisible deity is easier.

It was slightly cloudy and the atmosphere felt flat and strange. There didn’t seem to be as many decorated carts either.

I leaned against the wall. And waited. The frocks were interesting. The huge spotty ones of years ago are clearly out of fashion. No wonder my neighbour doesn’t wear hers any more. Now the designs can be plain, just one or two colours, or with flowers, abstract patterns, and some amazing flounces and frills. The dressmaker in me is fascinated. And, for once, flat boots are de rigeur, well, apart from a few idiots wearing heels. For those who don’t hitch a lift in a cart, it’s a fair hike. And I think flat boots look so chic.

Mmm, yes, stylish
Mmm, yes, stylish
Simple but effective
Simple but effective
Another chic little number
Another chic little number
Stunning in black and white
Stunning in black and white
Not an outfit I would be seen dead in. And those shoes! For a four or five km hike :(
Not an outfit I would be seen dead in. And those shoes! For a four or five km hike :(

No, roughseas did not wear a flamenco frock. She was wearing shorts as usual. And trainers.

When Jésus rolled up, the flowers seemed less than usual. Maybe the Catholic church is running out of funds. Last year there were glorious displays of white lilies, and this year the red flowers didn’t look as impressive. Plus, there were no flowers on the spokes. Definite cost-cutting going on there.

Last year's beautiful flowers
Last year’s beautiful flowers
Jésus in his flowery cart
Jésus in his flowery cart
The three horseriders bearing the flags of the village church, Andalucía and Spain
The three horseriders bearing the flags of the village church, Andalucía and Spain
Cute kid. Cuter pony.
Cute kid. Cuter pony.

I stood by some of the bueys – draught oxen. They are huge animals. But so docile.

Adorable bueys wearing silly headgear
Adorable bueys wearing silly headgear

One year, we watched a buey person walking down our side street absolutely rat-arsed. He staggered from one side to the other. The bueys dutifully followed him, weaving across the street in line with his meanderings, occasionally bashing into the walls with their cart.

They pee like there is no tomorrow. I couldn’t believe the deluge that poured out as I watched them waiting to join the procession.

As the carts trundled down the street, a woman suddenly turned out of our street and drove her car into the middle of the procession. Seriously, WTF? She negotiated carefully between one processing cart, and one parked up waiting to join. She came to a halt when she was faced with a horse’s arse belonging to the three flagbearers. Where had she left her brain? Did she have one? She’s trying to push her car through a lot of bueys and horses. Bueys weigh at least half a ton.

I turned to the bloke next to me and we rolled our eyes and shrugged. But why did no one tell her to stop when she joined the main street?

Next up, I watched some nasty man start to hit one of his bueys. This, was so not what I wanted to see. The animals were not misbehaving, they were patient and waiting, yet he continued to hit one on the nose. As he swiped yet again, he fell, flying onto his front. The crowd gasped, waiting for the inevitable. A ton of bueys (ie two) plus a cart trampling and rolling over idiot features who shouldn’t have been in charge of animals.

Out of control
Out of control

Someone to the side of me told them to stop, I think, or maybe they didn’t want to walk over the abuser. Or they had no guide so they just stopped. Another man went to stand by them. It happened so quickly. The bueys waited patiently yet again. People crowded round the man and told him to go for treatment to his hand.

Bueys wondering at the folly of people
Bueys wondering at the folly of people

Oh no. He had to return to dominate his bueys. Spanish machismo. I couldn’t take any more. I left. Why couldn’t the police officer have told him to retire? There were plenty of other buey people around. Was he drunk at 9.30? Maybe? They start drinking early for Romería. Or, as my partner suggested, was he just out of control? Brute force isn’t the answer to problems. Look at this buey person taking over the guiding.

La senorita takes charge
La senorita takes charge

I had a bad taste in my mouth. And it wasn’t just the result of the colds we’ve both come down with.

Being in charge of a ton or more of livestock carries responsibility. Being in charge of a car does too. It was disappointing to see two older people displaying none.

The next day we walked the dogs early. And groaned at the amount of rubbish in the street. A half-eaten chicken, chips, a McDonalds’ bag, all chucked up and down our street. Within the space of a few hundred yards, there are two major rubbish bins and three small street ones. Sometimes I despair. I really do. The rubbish stayed there until Tuesday, awaiting the arrival of our very good streetsweeper to clear up the detritus of other peoples’ lives.

56 comments on “Drama at the Romería

    • Hi G. Not too bad apart from residual snuffles. Hope you are well too. I’ve been offline for a coupla weeks so I’ll try and get over to visit you.

      To be honest, I nearly didn’t go to Romería but Halphone had charged, so I thought I might as well wander down and take pix. I’m not sure I’ll go again in a hurry. I can do without seeing idiocy whether it’s whacking animals needlessly or stupidly joining what is quite clearly a procession, particularly one with horses and bueys.

      Liked by 2 people

    • A very thoughtful comment Tish. In terms of literal shades, the light changed quite a lot and I opted not to change the photos.

      In terms of other shades, hmmm. For me there was no grey. I walked home extremely stressed by it all :(

      Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t know if it’s an age thing, but I’m finding myself becoming increasingly misanthropic, which I’d rather not be. Maybe it’s a cumulative effect from a media overload of crassness aka Trumposis and the like.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Nah. Don’t worry. I’ve always thought like that :)

          Although to be more serious, I am concerned about the way the world is going. Or at least, appears to be going as per the internet. Trumpness? Cameronness? What difference really.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Look, ever since I found out that water wasn’t changed into wine and never will, I stopped being interested in quasi religious processions. The left over chicken and McDonalds bags on the streets just confirms it is all a bit sad and the belting of animals is just silly and cruel. Next time I see someone gored in the running of the bulls in Spain, I will urge him on. ( The bull, I mean.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Too funny. One of our family jokes was around communion. ‘Sup and be thankful’ so grandfather drained the chalice. On being criticised, he said, ‘you said, sup, there’s a tankful’.

      The running of the bulls is despicable. I have no sympathy for anyone injured in that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So many possible responses to this post. And so many questions, too. I like Tish’s comment: “so many shades”

    What do moon cycles have to do with crops? (I am not a farmer, but am intrigued)
    Could someone have asked the bully to stop hitting his beast?
    Why do women wear flamenco for a crop parade?
    Is the water stain on the ground of the last picture the evidence for a buey pee deluge, perhaps?

    wearing a flouncy dress could be a lot of fun, I think. But perhaps not with the apparently requisite flower on the top of the head. And definitely not with heels. Or boots. Comfy/sturdy sandals would be nicer.
    The bueys look lovely. Are they used for farming/plowing etc when they are not on parade?
    I am not a fan of Jesus statues that come out once a year to be paraded.
    I am, on the other hand, a fan of your posts. Always informative, and almost always entertaining.


    • Yeah, Tish gets comment of the post award!


      Here’s a link: http://www.gardeningbythemoon.com/lunarfacts.html

      I’m actually not that up on it, although I used to be quite into the theory of biodynamics. I just always forget to check the moon when I plant! The theory is about the gravitational pull of the sun/moon, tides etc, and water content in the soil. Living on the coast I do tend to notice the change in tides, and weather, with the full/new moons, and the dogs react differently too.

      Someonecould have done. Just as they could have told the stupid woman in the car not to drive through the procession. Eventually someone did tell her to pull off into a track. But, regarding animals in Spain, they are property and not to be interfered with. Sentient beings? Living in la-la land.

      Women wear flamenco frocks for any sort of fiesta. As I said the religion/crop aspect is nominal. It’s basically a 12 hour party.

      Could be. I hadn’t thought, but looks like.


      Yes, I’d feel a prat with a flower although some wear them well. But, my vote goes to the boots. I think flat boots look great with the frocks and the trousers that some of the horseriders were wearing.

      I have seen the bueys used for ploughing but increasingly less. I was surprised how many there were in the parade. Sometimes they are used for transporting things on carts, usually cane used as stakes for beans in the fields.

      I am not a fan of jesus or statues, but each to our own. The virgin gets brought out in July to go paddle in the sea …

      Thank you so much. I’m looking forward to your blog too ;)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rolling a Jesus statue around a fishmongers market/pier, or a carpenters workshop might make some odd sense, but the only thing Jesus ever did in regards to agriculture was smite (kill) a fig tree. That’s hardly the kind of guy you want anywhere near your crops.

    Liked by 2 people

    • He was good with fishy things, right? Fish makes good plant fertilizer – especially the dead heads supposedly. So maybe there’s some slim connection…a missing page in that book yet to be discovered. Killing a fig tree takes some sort of power or skill – at least around here. You can smite them all you want, but they just come back…surviving long after many a homestead is gone.
      Got a laugh from your observations and comment. Thanks

      Liked by 1 person

    • Doesn’t make any sense taking his mother to the sea but they do that too. How is a supposed virgin meant to increase fishing catches? Maybe they should swap them round. Jesus to sea and Mary (the fertile virgin) to the land?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Flowers instead of dots – better I think. Enjoyed your fashion comments. Short ones? And without the long sleeves. I always like a contrasting/reverse color on ruffle undersides. (Is that contrast a sly hint back to when very demure women in long bland skirts would wear flashy read petticoats and hidden lacy undergarments?) Hadn’t occurred to me that “traditional” dress could/would change. Now will have to wait until next years to see which way dressmakers and dancers choose. Yes, boots much better.
    Oxen are such lovely creatures. Humans in parades not always. Stop a guy from beating a reasonable oxen and he just gets up and starts again? You’re right that Spanish macho. Applaud for the lady in the red dress.
    Those little boys all dressed handsomely – one on pony and one on foot in the second picture – that’s probably how the attitude all begins? Cute and applauded when little growing into arrogance. Like football players here.
    Woman in the car: determined to get through traffic or something despite the parade – happens here sometimes. Seems more of them running down viewers in the process recently. Maybe onlookers are surprised ( with the speed of it here) or just wanting to see the driver get into trouble. Human behavior is getting increasingly bizarre.
    Crops and the moon. Some of the reasoning is practical and scientific. While the calendar months aren’t always accurate with real agricultural timing, the moon phases do signal the seasons and length of day/growing time more accurately maybe. Not the daily weather, but the big picture? Or there’s that dancing naked by the light of the moon thing – bound to be entertaining if not helpful for crops.
    You didn’t get your cold that way? HA HA hope you’re better soon.


    • I’m not fond of spots. Measles and chicken pox may have influenced that.

      I am loving the new designs though. Seriously clever frocks there. Nicely done.

      Oxen are fine. People are not. No more to say. La senorita also has a fine frock too. Not only is she not remotely tough, her attire wouldn’t help if she needed to do anything. But she won’t, because the bueys Don’t Cause Problems. Only people do that.

      Yes. Little boys get a lot of applause. Very bad for their stupid egos.

      Car? Woman? Brain not engaged. Luckily gears were. I think.

      I would never go by calendar months. Makes no sense. Easter is interesting. My cacti have actually flowered for Passover (not Easter) but a post about that due.

      Dancing naked is good for young things, not sleepy in bed old things. So, no :D

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It was meant to be our horse fair here in Jimena at the weekend, but it got cancelled due to the weather, which is unheard of as far as i know! The dresses would have got very spoilt and I am sure the horses didn’t want to get wet either. I do love watching all the ladies in those dresses, sometimes I wonder how they manage to fit into them :-) Great photos, thanks for sharing x


    • In all my years of Romería I only remember one cancellation for rain. I mean, who wants to walk miles in bucketing Spanish
      rain? We used to have a horse fair the day before. It stopped years ago. Money huh?

      I think the dresses are interesting. The feminist in me isn’t impressed but the dressmaker in me is fascinated.

      Thanks :)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post. Your photos and narrative were spellbinding. I’m so glad that cruel fellow got his comeuppance. Serves him right. Can’t stand to see litter. Some people are the absolute pits. :( Love the cute little pony. Had to laugh at the Jésus on a cart. Wasn’t he supposed to ride on a donkey?


    • Thank you so much S. I do hope it’s of interest to others as I enjoy reading local customs and events from other places. The drama was an unplanned extra :D Sadly I can’t imagine that Nasty Man will have altered his abusive behaviour one jot. But still, a feeling of ‘serve you right’ went through me too. And he could hardly blame the bueys, he just lost his footing in his attempt to swipe at the buey yet again.

      Litter annoys me too. It’s the equivalent of me picking up after our dogs and throwing the bag in the street instead of in a bin. What annoyed me was that the chicken was right next to the rubbish bin as though they’d made an effort. Leaving unwanted food around in a hot country is not clever.

      A donkey? Religion is like journalism: never let the facts get in the way of the story. ;)

      Liked by 1 person

        • Maybe. I agree about karma. Or, on the same principle, what goes around comes around.

          Personally I hope he isn’t allowed anywhere near bueys again, but … this is Spain. But karma might be hiding around the corner again :)

          Liked by 1 person

  7. For all the religious hoopla of the good folks in Spain, I’m at a loss of why there is so much cruelty to animals. In my un-biased opinion, I think the people are more interested in parading around in their gear and eating till they drop. Jesus in most likely at the bottom of the list for the day of celebration.

    I agree with Gerard about the oxen. Beautiful animals as were the horses and the cute little pony.


    • That’s an incisive observation. Parading, eating and drinking are at the heart of this particular festival. When they return 12 hours later, there is a mad scrabble to rip the flowers off the Jesus cart and take them home. While I think the flowers are lovely, it seems so undignified to be almost fighting over free flowers.

      The animals are definitely the best part of the procession. Certainly the best behaved.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I so wanted the bueys to trample the moron. What is the matter with these people?

    A few years ago we were at a transhumance in the Basque region. There were men with sticks at the point in the road where the mares and foals came trotting in to join the cavalcade. Disregarding the men with sticks and the milling mares and foals, a car driver tried to force their way through, causing the horses to panic and stampede in every direction, with spectators diving out of their way. The driver seemed oblivious to the chaos he was causing, and continued forcing his way past cattle, sheep, goats and people. No cure for stupid.


    • Poetic justice, n’est ce pas? The only down side I could see was that more stupidity might have followed that to the detriment of the bueys. When people were fussing round Nasty Man, I would have liked to have gone to the buey and stroked it and said nice things to it. ‘Crazy foreigner talks to bueys ignoring injured man on floor!’

      That was terrible. I don’t know whether shit for brains is an overgenerous description of people like that. Although we live in a village, it’s in the middle of a large campo area and there are always horses, bueys, sheep and goats using the road. What part of road traffic rules do people not understand that says give way and slow down for animals?


  9. The dresses were fascinating…how they get into them is another question…
    A mean minded man reduced to showing how macho he is by hitting an animal: here we have legislators filibustering an animal protection bill claiming that it will hit ‘cultural’ events – cock fighting, bull running, etc…


    • Before I forget, here’s the costa rica link I mentioned before:

      Long zips? I’ve never looked that closely. Easy enough for the skinnies, but for some of the others …?

      He obviously had issues, but it shouldn’t become an issue of animal abuse.

      Cultural events? Ah yes. Entertainment = animal cruelty. It’s not dissimilar to the mindset that says cover up women, ban them from driving, prevent their education. Superiority complex gone rampant.


      • Thanks for the link. I did pick it up from the last post, but – having internet problems after a lightning strike – didn’t follow up until now. I had no idea that this existed – and what a super place!

        A great pity that the bueys were so placid…my neighbour has a pair who are holy terrors – perhaps I should ship therm over. I wouldn’t give much for the chances of Jesus making it very far…nor for those of anyone trying to hit them.


        • I thought Paul’s post was wonderful. What a place indeed! I actually thought you might have known as he said it was near San José.

          I seem to have readers who are not entirely good-natured. So far it seems to be bueys 100% – arsehole 0. And no one seems interested in said arsehole’s welfare.

          I am liking my readers. I am wanting your neighbour’s bueys. Except some idiot would abuse them. Although if Jésus toppled that would be fun too 😈


          • It’s the other side of the Central Valley and communication being what it is here it might as well be on the other side of the moon…
            Bully for not entirely good-natured readers….perhaps we could ship arsehole over here for a stint working cane with my neighbour’s bueys, film it and circulate it. Not a saga length film, I fear…but the hospital sequences could pad it out…

            Liked by 1 person

    • Can you imagine making one of those frocks? !!!!!! I’m good on pleats but frills like that? Hmmmmm. 💃🏽

      Our village is actually well cleaned, nearly as good as Gib, but unlike Gib, there is no streetsweeping on bank hol mon, which followed romería. So it stayed there for nearly two days. I’m the sort of person who yelled at my father when I was six years old for throwing cigarette packets out of the car window.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have a real issue with litterbugs. It winds me right up too. There’s no excuse. And yes, I think it would take an age to master one of those dresses! By the time I’d finished I’d be too fat to fit in it!!


        • There is no excuse ever. Take bags with you whether you are camping, walking, or walking a dog. But when there is a profusion of bins around? We’ve seen litter dropped next to bins by the Traf cemetery. I mean, really? Just really?

          I’ve done a few Donna Karan drapey things. Suspect some went to the clothes bank. But that is nothing like serious frills.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Fabulous pics, Kate! I love the frocks… colours, frills, the lot! Have to agree with you about the one, though. Love the horse riders… The horses, mostly, and those oxen… how glorious! 😄 Bet you wanted to take that stick and ram it up somewhere not so sunny… know I would! Shame some idiot has to spoil things with thier stupidity. Anyway, nice post all the same. 😊


  11. Love all the photos, they give a real insight into Spanish life.
    I’ve always liked the Spanish dress, but like you, there’s no way I’d be seen dead in that ‘tarty’ outfit, and my feet are hurting just looking at her shoes.
    Shame the bueys didn’t trample the man hitting them, they would have every right to retaliate, but there again, animals aren’t vindictive.


    • It is very Spanish. Not sure if any ‘guiris’ (aka impolite word for foreigners) ever get involved. A 12 hour marathon wouldn’t be my thing. Tasteless would have been my description, but either way, def no on the fashionometer, let alone practicality.

      Funny how many of my readers have said the same things about bueys. I have never seen them aggressive or vindictive. What abuse we heap on animals eh?


  12. Hi Kate.. just say in to say that Monty , our 10 years old tabby is in the local vets suffering from a possible Anti Freeze poisoning. He’s very ill and the prognosis is ” not good” He is such an affectionate animal that it’s very hard to come to terms with his absence …. However hope springs eternal… Etc. Etc.


  13. Clearly it’s easier putting the responsibility on someone else. LOL! Well put darling! :D

    Gorgeous and stylish dresses indeed. Love the yellow and black one. Chic indeed.

    Black and white never goes out of fashion. :D

    Good grief! Yes, I totally agree. She’s def not afraid of falling or breaking her ankles. Maybe her boyfriend is going to carry her. LOL!

    Cuter pony indeed.

    Clearly that brute needed something on his head, neck and nose to keep him in control. He can be very glad I wasn’t there. They would have treated him for more wounds than the one on his hand. The asshole!

    Strange that people who call themselves ‘humans’ are so messy. Even if there aren’t rubbish bins, they can put everything in a bag and throw it away at home. What’s so difficult about that? And then they look down on animals.

    Thanks for sharing these great captures darling. I enjoyed. ♥


    • Thanks Sonel. :) Lovely comments. While not my taste, I do find the frocks interesting.

      I will ask for you to be assigned in charge of animal rights for the next romería. That should sort things out, yes?

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re very welcome and also not something I would wear, but I love looking at it as well. But maybe I would wear a black and red one when I do get there for the next romeria.

        I think they’d ban me forever because I am definitely going to make a lot of trouble. :lol:


  14. such colourful photos! those dresses are amazing – but i couldn’t imagine wearing one either. or heels! although i used to wear heels many, many moons ago….
    the bueys are lovely. i can’t understand people who bully animals, or who bully other people for that matter. so cruel and so unneccessary.
    i had to smile when i saw your ‘stunning in black & white’ comment…. that black pattern actually looks like a cartoon character to me, facing right, and with a very long, lumpy nose.
    regarding the decreased decorations – i was also wondering if perhaps there was a bit of a time factor involved – so that the cart couldn’t be decorated as elaborately as last year? that in addition to cost saving measures.
    it seems like people seem to have less time to be doing things than ever…. something our animals don’t have to worry about. they always seem to have enough time in the day for their meals, for play, for cuddles and for naps…


    • Indeed. Romería is a colour pageant. I could have worn a dress a few years ago, but flat boots only, and, I would have wanted to rip off the dress and put on shorts after not very long at all.

      Time for the cart dec is prob free, so I reckon basic cost cutting on flowers. They no longer give out free hats or free neckerchiefs which we got years ago.

      Ah yes, naps, play, attention. But not for beasts of burden :(


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