December 28th is not only the Day of the Innocents in Malaga, but also the date of one of the province's most famous and unusual festivals, the Fiesta Mayor de los Verdiales, in Puerto de la Torre. This year 28 traditional folk groups took part, performing the Montes, Almogía and Comares styles of this early form of flamenco.
This is a happy, lively folk festival. According to studies, verdiales preceded the fandango, a more widespread form of flamenco. The main instruments used by the bands, known as 'pandas' are violins, guitars, cymbals, tambourines and even lutes. The words of the songs are mostly about girlfriends, wives, working in the countryside, festivals and towns and cities, although there is always a certain amount of improvisation.
There are three styles of verdiales based on where they originated: Almogía, Comares and Montes.
In the Almogía category, the first three places were won by Coto Tres Hermanas, Almogía and Los Moras. The Comares section was won by the Panda Arroyo Conca, Raíces de Malaga and Primera de Comares, and the Montes category was won by Jotrón y Lomillas, Primera del Puerto and Santo Pítar. There were also prizes for the best dancing in the competition.