Many, and very different, are the festivals that are celebrated in Maestrazgo throughout the year. From the bonfires of San Antonio in January to the pilgrimages and spring festivals in May and July.
But undoubtedly the summer festivals are the ones with capital letters. It is the moment when joy overflows the streets, where neighbors, vacationers and tourists meet and participate in all the activities prepared, with great enthusiasm, by hard-working festive commissions or municipal corporations.
It is the time of the contests, the charangas, the children’s playgrounds, the popular lunches and dinners, the tardeos, the rondallas and jota groups, the orchestras and mobile discos and, of course, the cow patrols and the bullfights. During the summer, the bull becomes the undisputed protagonist of the festivities in practically all the towns, whether in the running of the bulls, bullfights or as a bull on a stake, and all of this with a large number of enthusiasts who measure their art in cuts, “quiebros” and other suertes for the enjoyment of the attendees.
The first summer festivities begin in June. They are those organized by the “quintos”, the 18 year olds of the town, who celebrate San Lamberto, or those of San Benón in Villarroya de los Pinares. Also those linked to the festival of San Juan, when the mayos are planted in villages such as Fortanete, Cañada de Benatanduz or Villarluengo, where the popular dance of the “Reinao” still takes place.
In July and August, the festivities in honor of San Cristóbal follow, with curious events such as the “enramadas” or “pintar tortas” of Fortanete. Those that take place at the end of July in honor of the Magdalena in Allepuz, or Santiago in Villarroya, as well as the festivities of Molinos. August begins with the festivals of Abenfigo, Castellote, Cuevas de Cañart and Mirambel, continues with La Cuba, Cañada de Benatanduz, Ladruñán and Miravete de la Sierra, and ends with those of Villarluengo and Cantavieja.
The summer calendar ends with the festivities of Tronchón and La Iglesuela del Cid, in early September, both linked to the Nativity of the Virgin, with pilgrimages to the Virgen del Tremedal and the Virgen del Cid, respectively. Religious rituals such as the “Relaciones” in Tronchón and the “Dance of shepherdesses and gypsies” in La Iglesuela are a central part of the festivities.
If you want to know a little more about the idiosyncrasy of the people of Maestrazgo you can not miss these moments of joy, brotherhood and enjoyment and participate in them. You won’t regret it.