If what you want is to get to know the Subbética in depth, its people, their traditions and their fiestas; then participate in the activities which take place throughout the year, some based on the culture of the local people as well as other more unusual ones which the visitor can take part in just like any other citizen, experiencing the deeply rooted traditions of the local people of this area.
La Subbética Cordobesa gives the visitor the possibility to live one of the most emblematic Easter time in Andalucía. The liveliness of Baroque in Córdoba achieves the highest degree of human interpretation in the sculptures which are taken out to the streets at the arrival of this date. In addition, there is the amazing medieval layout of some of these quarters which imbue it with more powerful magic. An evidence for the previously said is the fact that the Easter celebrations in Cabra and Lucena have been labelled as De Interés Turístico Nacional, A prestigious name given to festivities or events carried out in Spain offering real value from the point of view of tourism.
Easter Week in Almedinilla provides us with interesting baroque statues from the school in Granada, such as el Crucificado, Jesús Nazareno and la Virgen de los Dolores. Benamejí shows us passionate groups of sculptures of great quality, particularly all those which are formed by some images together. The importance of the Semana Mayor in Cabra, is backed up by the fact that it has been declared as Interés Turístico Nacional, a prestigious name given to celebrations or events celebrated in Spain offering real value from the point of view of tourism. It conveys great richness and emotion, which reaches its highest peak the day La Soledad is taken out to the streets in procession. In Carcabuey, the so-called 'Consejito' takes places on Good Friday. The two images of Jesús Nazareno and La Dolorosa are put so close together that their faces nearly touch each other. An important moment in Doña Mencía is when the image of El Cristo is taken down from the Calvary on Wednesday at midnight. Similarly important is when the live apostles join in the Thursday and Friday processions or the Descent from the Cross which is staged in the parish church on Friday afternoon by making use of a wood carving with articulated arms which dates from the beginning of the 17th century.
Encinas Reales offers an Easter Week of interest. The days of Passion in Fuente Tojar have as their most important appeal the frame where they happen, that is to say, in a little village of just 900 inhabitants.
El Paso or the staging of The Passion of Jesus in Iznajar is performed out by the village people in the parochial church, which is turned into a theatre for the occasion. When talking about Easter Week in Lucena, the particular santeros, (people who carry the platform with the statue) need to be mentioned since they handle sculptures of great artistic value. After The Week of Passion, the little Easter Week (Semana Ssanta Chiquita) is celebrated at the beginning of May. Many grown up santeros started here. Good Friday in Luque has special interest when Jesús de Nazareno is taken down from the Virgen del Castillo chapel, at the crack of dawn.
The sweet smells of anise liquors surrounding Rute are the hints that will lead to witness an Easter Thursday and Friday of great beauty. Palenciana stands out thanks to its opening speeches which are given out in the parish church at six in the morning on Friday. The procession of Roman soldiers needs also to be mentioned, although they are dressed with a uniform inspired by the Royal Guards from the 19th century. Priego de Córdoba has its peak moment on Good Friday, when Jesús Nazareno is taken up to the chapel in the Calvary, where he blesses the town people when everybody raises their hands holding their hornazos. We should not forget Easter Wednesday and Thursday. Finally, the picturesque layout of Zuheros contributes to the special charm of its Easter Week. They have opening speeches, live apostles and the moving meeting of El Nazareno and La Virgen de los Dolores at El Santo square on Friday morning.
The region is composed of fourteen municipalities Subbetica filled with a large legacy in folk customs and folklore.
Almedinilla religious sentiment has its most significant popular demonstration on the day of Candelaria (2 February), with the blessing in the church of bagels decorated with rosemary and procession in honor of the purification of the Virgin Mary: The day of the Cross (May 3) and the day of John the Baptist (June 24). Real Fair takes place from 12 to 14 September.
Virgen de la Sierra commemorative festivals. From 3rd to 8th September. The jubilant 'bajá' or journey down from the shrine takes place on the 4th. Declared a festival of national tourist interest.
Feria de San Juan, from 22nd to 24th June.
Pilgrimages to the Sierra shrine. There are several pilgrimages or romerías to the Sierra shrine throughout the year, organised by various guilds; the most popular and picturesque is that of the Gypsies, at the end of June.
The May Crosses. A celebration that takes place from 1st to 3rd May.
Holy Week. The importance of Easter in Cabra is shown by the fact that it has been declared an event of national importance for tourism. It is a time of great artistic beauty and plasticity, reaching its height with the procession of La Soledad, on Easter Saturday.
Semana Santa. Important moments during Holy Week in Doña Mencía include: the Calvario del Cristo at midnight on the Wednesday; the participation of the living apostles in the processions on the Thursday and Friday; and the taking down from the Cross, which is staged in the parish on the afternoon of Good Friday, using a figure with articulated arms from the early seventeenth century.
Carnival (date varies).
San Blas, 2th February.
San Pedro Mártir de Verona Fair and Festival (end of April and beginning of May).Feria de Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno (mid-September), in honour of the eponymous image which, following a procession in 1860, saw off a plague epidemic in the district.
Festival of la Virgen de la Piedad, from 8th to 11th September. A large number of people accompany the image of the Virgin on the route through the streets, carrying large candles, as a reminder of when religious promises were kept by burning kilos of wax, with some people going so far as offer their weight in it.
El Chascarrá, a dance recovered by the 'Asociación Cultural Amigos del Chascarrá', which forms part of the area's traditional folklore.
San Marcos, 25th April.
The Feria Chica or small fair, also known as the Feria de Verano or summer fair, is held on 15th, 16th and 17th of June.San Isidro, 15th May.
Semana Santa or Holy Week, the most impressive aspect of which is the dramatisation of the Passion of Jesus, staged by the 'Hisn-Paso Ashr' cultural association and performed by the locals in the municipal hall.
Fiestas Aracelitanas, commemorated on the first Sunday of May in honour of the Virgin of Araceli, patron of Lucena and the Andalusian countryside, and which involves a crowded procession around the streets of Lucena. The festivity has been recognised as being of national interest for Andalusian tourism.
Feria del Valle, this is the Royal Fair of Lucena, held from 8th to 10th September.Holy Week, mention must be made of the unusual santeros (throne bearers), who carry images of major artistic value. After the Passion Week comes the Semana Santa Chiquita, the 'Small Holy Week' for younger santeros that takes place on the Saturday after Easter Sunday.Feria de San Francisco, 2nd August.
The Carnival in Rute is one of the most important in the province, and in recent years the 'Entierro de la Sardina' or Burial of the Sardine has become one of its most popular elements.
On San Marcos' day (25 April), various open-air activities are organised in pretty spots in the country near the town.
The Crosses Contest. The Veracruz quarter is decked out to celebrate this traditional contest on the first day of May.
Holy Week is a beautiful occasion in Rute, particularly on the Thursday and Good Friday, filling the town with the aromas of incense, pestiños and aguardiente.
The Fair of the Virgen de la Cabeza (second Sunday in May).
Patron Saint's Festival, 11 to 15 August, in honour of the Virgen del Carmen.Las Coplas de la Aurora (Songs of Dawn). La Feria Real (Royal Fair), 24 to 28 August. The popular 'Chacarrá' dance.
Festival of the Patron, the Virgen de la Gracia, 10th to 13th September, when the image of the Virgin is paraded through the streets.
San Marcos, 25th April, with a traditional lunch in the country, where the tradition of 'tying the devil's tail' takes place. La Candelaria and San Blas, 2nd and 3rd February, with the popular 'roscas de dulce' or sweet rings.
Culture Week, 9th to 15th August, when several cultural activities are organised. Los Auroros, in October, with traditional canticles to the Virgin sung in the town streets at dawn.
Holy Week, which includes some quality images of the Passion, particularly in the processions featuring floats with groups of images.
Carcabuey has an impressive tradition in its Corpus Christi, when the town's streets are decorated with carpets made from coloured sawdust.
La Feria, 14-17 August. Las Fiestas Patronales, 7-8 September. Fiestas de la Aurora, end of August.
Also of interest is the Pascua de los Moraos, a carnival held on Resurrection Sunday. Good Friday is also the day of the 'Consejito' or piece of advice, in which the images of Jesús Nazareno and la Dolorosa are brought so close that their faces are almost touching.
Palenciana is well known for the pregones or proclamations made in the parish church at six in the morning. Another feature of Easter in Palenciana is the procession of the Roman centurions, who despite the name wear a uniform inspired by the royal guard of the nineteenth century.
The most characteristic festival, la Feria del Carmen, takes places from 15th to 17th August, with the traditional and original twirling of flags before the image of the Virgin. On the day of San Isidro there is a romería or pilgrimage up to el Monte Realengo.
The most interesting festivity is held during the last weekend in September in honour of Nuestro Padre Jesús de las Penas (though it is known as the Fiesta de San Miguel), with a procession of the patron's image through the town's streets, accompanied by flares, firecrackers and other pyrotechnics.
Another festivity that is also celebrated in several of Subbética's towns and villages is that of San Marcos, on 25th April, when the tradition is to spend the day in the country.
Semana Santa or Holy Week includes age-old traditions that are undoubtedly unique to Encinas Reales, such as los Romanos and los Dolorosos, the procession of Nuestro Padre Jesús de las Penas on the Thursday, the solemnity of the Holy Burial on the night of Good Friday and el Encuentro on Good Friday morning, organised by five Brotherhoods and the Association of Guilds, ensuring that the whole town is involved in the Easter commemorations in one way or another.
The Royal Fair from the 15th to the 28th of May is outstanding because of its originality, and St Isidro's dance which goes back to the 15th century. Eight men dressed up in bright and colourful caps dance, and play musical instruments such as the violin, the guitar ant the castanets.
Luque celebrates two spring pilgrimages: San Isidro, May 15th and San Jorge, on 23 April. From 24 to August 28 celebrates the Feast of St. Bartholomew, patron saint of the town. The second Sunday of September is the festival of the Virgen de la Aurora, with traditional Marian songs of 'Auroros' in the morning. Luque also has the carnival dances.
Priego de Cordoba, is a town that lives their customs and traditions. Carnivals: Explosion of joy, color and imagination before the gathering of Holy Week, Easter, saw the town with great 'Pasos', in a burst of fervor and excitement. On 'Domingos de Mayo': The images of each fraternity are exhibited in magnificent altarpieces, ornamented with flowers, candles, candleholders and vases. Raffles are held and every Sunday follow one another colorful processions.
Corpus Christi: A beautiful procession that takes place in the Barrio de la Villa. It reaches its maximum splendor of flowers and white.
Royal Fair: Held from 1 to 5 September. Highlighting the traditional 'Quejio' silence, joys and sorrows, the troubadours or siblings of the Aurora.
The village's popular culture and customs have their roots in this long-drawn-out history, beginning with el Melenchón, a ring of people moving round and forward as they sing typical Zuheros folksongs, and which visitors can see at Carnival time, Easter, the Day of the Cross (in May), the August Fair (around the 15th), the day of Jesus Nazarene (14th September), and at Christmas with los Carrizos (a type of drum played using friction).