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19th-century folklore in the streets of Ronda this weekend. SUR
Ronda turns back clock to romanticism period with weekend folklore festival
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Ronda turns back clock to romanticism period with weekend folklore festival

Ronda Romántica continues until Sunday, offering exhibitions, recreations of historic battles and a medieval market and fair

Tony Bryant

Ronda

Friday, 7 June 2024, 09:46

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Spring in Ronda is full of events and festivities and, without a doubt, one of the most awaited by locals and visitors alike is the Ronda Romántica festival, a cultural weekend that includes the participation of many of the 'pueblos blancos' scattered throughout the Serranía de Ronda. Held between 6 and 9 June, the event offers the chance to experience many old customs, traditions, music and the cuisine that have evolved from a destination that many of the romantic writers of the 19th century, such as Washington Irvin and Prospere Mérimée, wrote so fondly about it.

The festival, marking its tenth year, presents exhibitions, music and folklore performances, recreations of historic battles, equine shows and dressage, processions, workshops and flamenco recitals and 'copla' shows, along with typical cuisine based on local products, and wines grown in the surrounding vineyards.

There is a strong focus on traditional dress and costumes, and visitors are encouraged to participate by wearing 19th-century attire.

The main feature of the festivities is the recreation of the historic May fair and market, which began in 1509. This was one of the most popular gatherings in Andalucía during the 19th century, and it was noted many times in the pages of the romantics, including Mérimée, who declared it was "the most romantic place in the world".

The ambience of the 19th century has been captured in an exhibition at the Santo Domingo convent. The collection is the work of Javier Aguilar Carrasco, a multidisciplinary artist born in Ronda. The exhibition focuses on the rural life of those who lived in the Ronda mountains, the romantic travellers who passed through them, and the ragged bandits who hid in them on the lookout for unsuspecting victims. The highwaymen feature greatly in this exhibition, which illustrates the uprooted lives of these iconic characters, who are depicted as straddling reality and legend, as tragic heroes forced by the inertia of circumstances to go into exile in the Ronda mountains.

The programme also includes Flamenco de los Cantes de Ronda, a flamenco recital focusing on song styles typical of the Ronda mountains. The show will present Vicente Soto Sodero, a singer who descends from one of the biggest Gypsy dynasties in Jerez de la Frontera; and guitarist Antonio Malena, who comes from the flamenco clan known as Los Negros de Ronda.

Horse and carriage parade

Another popular event is the horse and cart parade, which will leave Plaza de España at 11am on Saturday. This parade transports the town back 200 years, because, along with the immaculate horses and pristine carriages; the horsemen and women, plus the passengers of these nostalgic vehicles, are dressed in striking 19th-century costumes, like a scene from a Goya painting.

There will also be a series of children's activities, including workshops, fancy dress, games, magic and puppet shows and street theatre.

For a full schedule of activities, locations and times, see www.rondaromantica.net

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