Andalusia Customs and society

Each sub-region in Andalusia has its own unique customs that represent a fusion of Catholicism and local folklore. Cities like Almería have been influenced historically by both Granada and Murcia in the use of traditional head coverings. The sombrero de Labrador, a worker’s hat made of black velvet, is a signature style of the region.

In Cádiz, traditional costumes with rural origins are worn at bullfights and at parties on the large estates. The tablao flamenco dance and the accompanying cante jondo vocal style originated in Andalusia and traditionally most often performed by the gypsy (Gitanos). One of the most distinctive cultural events in Andalusia is the Romería de El Rocío in May. It consists of a pilgrimage to the Hermitage of El Rocío in the countryside near Almonte, in honor of the Virgin of El Rocío, an image of the Virgin and Child. In recent times the Romería has attracted roughly a million pilgrims each year.

In Jaén, the saeta is a revered form of Spanish religious song, whose form and style has evolved over many centuries. Saetas evoke strong emotion and are sung most often during public processions. Verdiales, based upon the fandango, are a flamenco music style and song form originating in Almogia, near Málaga. For this reason, the Verdiales are sometimes known as Fandangos de Málaga. The region also has a rich musical tradition of flamenco songs, or palos called cartageneras. Seville celebrates Semana Santa, one of the better known religious events within Spain. During the festival, religious fraternities dress as penitents and carry large floats of lifelike wooden sculptures representing scenes of the Passion, and images of the Virgin Mary. Sevillanas, a type of old folk music sung and written in Seville and still very popular, are performed in fairs and festivals, along with an associated dance for the music, the Baile por sevillanas. All the different regions of Andalusia have developed their own distinctive customs, but all share a connectedness to Catholicism as developed during baroque Spain society.

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