Bonfires, stone throwing, races, romerías and pet shows across Spain will mark the Fiesta de San Antonio de Abad or San Antón from this week until the end of the month.
Mijas celebrates with a strange tradition dating back to the 15th century with hundreds of 'singles' gathering at the Ermita de la Virgen de La Peña to throw stones at the genitals of the statue of San Antón to make sure they procure a partner this year. The hermitage is also the site for the blessing of animals. Locals take their pets and stock to be blessed by the saint who is also the patron of animals.
In Maro, the events are spread over several days starting with a procession to offer flowers to San Antón in the Las Maravillas church. Bonfires are lit in the street and prizes are awarded for the most traditional, largest etc. The main bonfire will be in the Plaza de la Iglesia. Competitions, wine tastings and live music fill the following days which culminate on the 17th with a special mass and procession of the saint through the streets.
Malaga celebrates San Antón every year with a romería (procession) in the Parque del Lagarillo Blanco organised by the Asociación de Vecinos de El Palo.
All the provinces of Andalucía will be holding events to honour the saint; Jaén, for example, has a nocturnal race in which around 8,000 runners take part; in Granada it is traditional to eat 'Olla de San Antón' (a stew made from pork and beans). In Córdoba, a few laps around the hermitage will stop you getting stomach ache for the rest of the year while the Parque González Honitorio in Jérez de la Frontera will be filled with animals as they congregate for the blessing.