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Feast Days

The local feast days generally take place as of the month of September, coinciding with the end of the hardest agricultural chores. Of note is the high number of celebrations in honour of the Virgin of the Assumption, as in the rest of the country.

The feasts of Santa María la Real de Nieva honour her patron, Virgen de la Soterraña, and are celebrated during the second week of September, following a week of culture and worship.

One of the better known traditions of these feasts is the "Ofrecimiento de los Cirios", or candle offerings. On the afternoon of 7 September, two women, called pedidoras, representing each one of the four principal streets of the town (calle Segovia, Mayor, Miguel Ibáñez y Ochando), raise funds for the confraternity of the Virgen de la Soterraña.

The people who live on these streets bring a large candle to the Virgin; these candles are carried by two young men in traditional dress. When each one of the candles is brought on to the first three streets, a band strikes music (traditionally the Coca) and the people dance and drink the refreshments offered by the pedidoras.

The pedidoras wear traditional costumes or a Spanish mantilla.

Once the group arrives at the church, the parish priest receives the candle which is brought to the main altar after having gone around the inside of the church. At that moment, the music ceases to play, and after the silence marked by a small bell, a singer, or cantarina, sings songs accompanied by a tambourine in honour of the Virgin, appealing to la Morenita, as she is familiarly called, for favours, or giving her thanks for those already received. The stanzas begin with each of the first letters of the word «Soterraña».

Lastly, the candle for the calle Ochando leave the shrine of Fuente Santa, this time to the music of the dulzaina (a reed instrument) and small drum.

SOterraña en este día
te ofrecemos este cirio
los vecinos de esta calle
que te quieren con delirio.

TE pedimos, Soterraña
en prueba de nuestro amor
que nos lleves a tu lado
como está el Santo Pastor.

Recorres en la carroza
este tu recinto amado
con los vivas de tus hijos
que danzan entusiasmados.

Rica perla de este hogar,
y de tristezas, consuelo,
conduce a las pedidoras
por el camino del cielo.

Adiós, Soterraña hermosa,
venerada en toda España,
como despedida os damos
un ¡Viva la Soterra-ÑA!

In Paradinas there is another kind of religious procession which is somewhat peculiar. It has its origins in 1854, when a carthusian monk named Esteban de las Monjas delivered a total of 505 holy relics to the local confraternity. Ever since then, on the last Sunday of October, they are brought out in procession in two niche jars: one holds 365 of the relics, one for each day of the year, and the other also contains relics from the cross and manger of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, only twelve of these relics have certificates of authenticity from the Vatican. During droughts it is customary to bring them out on a platform and pray for rain.

In Laguna Rodrigo, the feast in honour of the Christ at the Column is very famous. The image is a life-size wooden carving that is brought out in procession in a beautiful carriage that goes through the streets of the town to the sounds of the dulzaina. Since the church is somewhat far from the town (this is unusual in other towns) the procession assumes much solemnity.

5 February is the feast day of Saint Águeda. The most representative feast in her honour is held in Hoyuelos.

Some people believe that the feast of Saint Águeda may have its origins in the common law practices of the celts, thereby relating the early idea of women´s independence with the institution of matriarchy and religious practices. Therefore, the cult of Saint Águeda is older than the saint herself.

In his book entitled “Desde la Casona,” the Count of Cedillo records how this feast day was celebrated in Hoyuelos in the 1920’s.

Only married women and widows were allowed to be members of the confraternity, and the two female “mayors” and “bailiffs” elected each year played important roles. The celebrations lasted for four days, in a programme that mixed pagan and religious activities: mass and music, processions and dances, candles and dulzainas… and also the gastronomic reunion of the members of the confraternity.

The feast of Saint Águeda has been recovered over the years, and is currently celebrated in many towns of the area, including Villoslada, Santa María la Real de Nieva, Paradinas, etc.

The romería (a kind of pilgrimage practiced throughout Spain) is a custom that has been disappearing, although the romerías of «El Prado» in Miguel Ibáñez and «San Miguel» in Villoslada are still celebrated. The latter used to be held on 8 May, but it has been moved to the second Saturday of the month of May. The day begins with a mass, and then a procession and dance to the music of the dulzaina and drum.

It is said that many years ago, many people wore “fancy dress” and danced around an elm tree that has since disappeared.

Also noteworthy is the role of traditional music in all of these celebrations, so that dulzaina- and drum-players are known in Santa María la Real de Nieva, Laguna Rodrigo...

The dulzaina-player don Crescencio Martín, born in Santiuste de San Juan Bautista, lived in Santa María la Real de Nieva. He played for sixty-two years in a total of 192 towns; his playing was well known all over the region, for which he received many honours and won many prizes. Between 1981 and 1984 he gave classes in the dulzaina school in Santa María la Real de Nieva and in Cuéllar. He attracted some 60 students, and many young people continue his work in Villoslada, Nieva…

There are also certain folk traditions that are continued throughout the region, such as:

  • The blessing of the animals, on 17 January, the feast day of Saint Anthony.
  • The procession of Saint Isidro, patron saint of farmers, on 15 May.
  • The Enramada led by the recruits of Santa María la Real de Nieva. On Saturday, they go around to people´s homes to ask for contributions, and in the evening, make a bonfire. On Sunday, they decorate the door of the church with branches. At a later date, they organize a fund-raising dinner.
  • The blessing of the trucks, on 9 July, the feast day of Saint Christopher, patron saint of drivers. This feast is also celebrated in some towns.

Table of Local Feast Days

Town Feast Date Other Feast Date
Santa Mª la Real de Nieva Ntra. Sra. de la
8 and 9 September    
Aragoneses Saint Domingo
de Silos
20 - December    
Balisa Saint Sebastián 20 - January    
Jemenuño Feast of the
15 - August Santa Marina
Saint Antonio
18 - July
13 - June
Hoyuelos Feast of the
15 - August Saint Catherine 25 - November
Laguna Rodrigo Exalt. de la Santa Cruz 14 - September Christ at the Column Trinity Sunday
Miguel Ibáñez Feast of the
15 - August    
Ochando Saint Clemente 23 - November Saint Pelayo Beg. of June
Paradinas Feast of the
15 - August Our Lady of Mercy 24 - September
Pascuales Saint Nicolás de Bari 6 - December Saint Gregory Nacianc. 9 - May
Pinilla - Ambroz Saint Juan Bautista 24 - June Saint Ramón Nonato 30 - August
Santovenia Santa Eugenia 8 - Enero Ntra. Sra. de Matamala 2 - Julio
Tabladillo Saint Clemente 23 - November Saint Roque 16 - August
Villoslada Saint Nicolás de Bari 6 - December Saint Christ and Saint Miguel
Saint Roch
8 - May
16 - August