San Isidro Nerja 2018

The month of May is upon us and you know what that means, good weather, blossoming flowers, plus seasonal fruits such as cherries and apricots. Oh and let’s not forget one of Nerja’s favourite festivities, San Isidro.

What is San Isidro all about?

A local holiday in Nerja, San Isidro consists of a pilgrimage which starts with a mass at El Salvador church, located on the Balcón de Europa.

After the mass, just outside the church, we pay tribute to the farmers with traditional dances and local folkloric music.

Once the dances have finished, the pilgrimage per se commences. First in line are the oxen that pull the cart that carries the saint (San Isidro). Behind them, dozens of horses, floats, and of course pilgrims. Expect the streets to be full of people, colourful carts and plenty of music.

Everybody dances and sings to folkloric music. Men and women both wear special outfits, lots of which are handmade by them over the course of the year.

The women wear a traditional gypsy dress or skirt, a beautiful and big flower in their hair, and shoes or more commonly boots which help them complete the long walk.

The men (and some women) wear suits. Said outfit consists of a wide brimmed hat, a white shirt called “guayabera”, a bandanna (generally a red one) around their neck, trousers called “pantalón de caireles” and spats.

San Isidro Nerja 2018

It’s a very special day for locals and tourists. Friends, families and neighbours all meet up to enjoy the event. Locals tend to prepare their very own floats, which are loaded with food and drink. Food to keep you energized, and drink to keep you nice and cool along the way.

On the other hand, tourists usually set up camp around the Nerja Club/Los Arcos area. They bring their own food and drink and enjoy the sun while they wait for the floats to go by. Most tourists, and foreign locals are very well prepared and they will set up camp with chairs, tables, and parasols. This is a great spot to snap that perfect San Isidro photo to take home with you.

Every single stop (expect many of them) is made good use of. People will take the opportunity to dance a little, drink a little, eat a little and even relax.

The saint is deposited in a shrine along the main road which gives the animals a chance to relax, and the pilgrims a chance to eat some more and recover a little energy. But the party doesn’t finish here, the pilgrimage continues on. At the end of the route, you will find a number of tents and bars. In my opinion, it’s well worth completing the whole pilgrimage (especially considering that you can get a bus back into town for pennies).

The party goes on all afternoon and evening. However, when the music stops it’s time to go home.

Every year San Isidro surpasses itself and is a very popular local holiday. Locals love it, and tourists always fall in love with it.

San isidro 2018

When is San Isidro in Nerja?

San Isidro is celebrated on the 15th of May every year, in honor of San Isidro himself, the patron of the farmers.

Where is it celebrated?

As stated, the pilgrimage starts at El Salvador church (Balcón de Europa), passes through one of Nerja’s busiest streets (Pintada street), and the N-340 national road before reaching the car park for the Nerja Caves which is found in the Maro district.

San Isidro 2018 Programme

11:00 – Mass in El Salvador church (Balcón de Europa). Sung and recited by the “Coro Rociero de la Peña Nerjeña”, a local group. Immediately after the saint will be offered a number of fruits.

12:00 – Tribute to the farmers just outside the church. Plus, folkloric songs by the same group as before and a number of dances performed by Nerja and Maro dance clubs.

14:30 – Expected time of arrival of the saint to the Nerja Caves. Local authorities also pay their respects at this time.

15:30 – The music begins, with artists such as: Fernando del Paso, El Callejón, José Fernández, and María DJ.

17:00 – Prizes are awarded to the best horsemen, horse carts, and mechanical carts.

23:00 – The music is cut off and the party’s over for another year.

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