The word “Romeria” comes from “romero”, meaning those travelling to Rome. It is a Catholic celebration that consists of a peregrination on foot, in cars, in carriages or on horseback that usually ends at a sanctuary. I think it can be compared to Sant’Efisio’ festival in Cagliari, when the worshippers follow the statue of the saint from Stampace (one of the city’s historical quarters) to Nora, where there’s the church that bares his name. They all come back to Cagliari few days later after waking a total of sixty-five kilometers.
The “romeria” of San Isidro in Almunecar is definitely shorter: a path of about five kilometers from the church where the mass is officiated to Torre Cuevas, where the followers gather to celebrate the farmers’ patron saint. I make my mother happy today by attending mass, even if it’s in Spanish. The Spanish people take their saints very seriously; the women flaunt their colorful flamenco dresses, more or less originals and some of them ‘revised’ to make them more modern, each one of them wearing flowers in their hair and flashy jewelry to match their clothes. It almost seems a race to reward the gaudiest dress of all.
Once the mass is finished, the statue of the saint is loaded onto a car that will take it to Torre Cuevas: I guess the times when people carried him on their shoulders are gone. During these days in Spain, I’ve learned not to translate what people tell me directly into Italian. When they talked to me about “carriages” I envisioned decorated carts pulled by horses and cows but they are in fact trailers full of flowers and ornaments of any kind, carrying the people attending the celebrations. Outside the church, some of the followers are riding the horses, giving a more historical touch to the “romeria”.
It is obvious I am not going to follow the procession all the way to Torre Cuevas and I’m quite happy by shooting pictures to remember this day. My mom should be pleased just by the fact that I’ve attended the mass, which it’s already a huge step for me!