Day of the Light

It celebrates: From 17th April to 17th April
Place: Arroyo de la Luz (Cáceres)
Category: Religious
Popularity: (***) 3/5
Ideal for children
Organize: Arroyo de la Luz City Council
Known start date: It dates back to the 16th century (1557)
Figure of protection: Festivity of Regional Tourist Interest (since 1997)
Tags:
Peculiar CostumesHorsesRegional Tourist InterestProcessionsPilgrimages
Reading time: 5 minutes and a half

What is the Day of the Light?

The Day of the Light in Arroyo de la Luz is a traditional celebration that takes place every Easter Monday in honor of the Patron Saint, Our Lady Virgin of the Light. This festivity is considered the most important in the town and has been declared a Festival of Regional Tourist Interest since 1997.

Legend has it that during the Reconquista in 1229, Christians and Muslims were fiercely fighting in the surroundings of the Pozo de las Matanzas in the Dehesa de la Luz, when a divine light, that of the Virgin, appeared on an oak tree, blinding the Muslims and illuminating the Christians, who thus managed to win the battle and gratefully built a chapel in her honor.

The Day of the Light begins with a procession that leaves the Church of the Assumption in the Main Square and goes through the main streets of the town. Women accompany the image of the Virgin dressed in their typical costumes and mantillas carrying bouquets of flowers that are offered to the Virgin.

Once the Virgin arrives at the Plaza de San Sebastian, the famous horse races begin on the Corredera, where riders and horses show their skill and ability. The races are a spectacle for horse lovers and tourists who visit the town during these festivities.

The tradition of horse races was born because men returned from the pilgrimage with their horses harnessed and their wives riding behind. The people of the town came out to the main street, the Corredera, to see and enjoy the colorful riders and ladies in their finery.

In addition to the procession and horse races, numerous processions traverse the streets during Holy Week where the beauty of the floats and images merge with the deep religious feeling of the population.

The Descent of the Virgin is celebrated on the Thursday following Easter Monday, where the Virgin is brought from the Hermitage of the Light and carried on the shoulders of the people of Arroyo de la Luz to the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption. On the pilgrimage Sunday, Our Lady Virgin of the Light returns to the sanctuary amidst popular fervor, where the entire town spends a day in the Dehesa de la Luz.

Origin and History

The history of the Day of the Light dates back to the 16th century, where a document from the Parish Archive of 1557 narrates how this festivity was celebrated. Initially, the people of Arroyo de la Luz went on a procession to their patron saint's hermitage, and later in carts and wagons, and the Mass was celebrated outdoors on an altar located on one side of the hermitage. Over time, the festivity has evolved and has incorporated new traditions that have made the Day of the Light the most important celebration in Arroyo de la Luz.

This festivity is intimately linked to the celebration of Holy Week in Arroyo de la Luz:

Holy Week in Arroyo de la Luz

Holy Week in Arroyo de la Luz is a religious celebration of great importance for the local community. During this week, various processions are held in which the different brotherhoods of the town participate. The procession of Holy Thursday stands out, in which the "Silent Procession" is held with the floats of the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus Nazarene, and the Virgin of Hope.

Another highlight of Holy Week in Arroyo de la Luz is the meeting between the Virgin of the Light and her son, the Risen Jesus, which is celebrated on Resurrection Sunday in the Plaza de España. In addition, during this week, numerous cultural and gastronomic activities related to the festivities can be enjoyed, such as the tasting of typical Easter sweets and the famous chickpea stew.

A unique experience that combines religious tradition with the rich local culture and cuisine.

What to see in Arroyo de la Luz

Arroyo de la Luz is a town with a great cultural and heritage wealth worth visiting. Below are some of the most interesting places to visit in this Extremaduran locality:

  • Ermita de la Virgen de la Luz: This sanctuary is the epicenter of Arroyo's main festival, the Day of Light, celebrated every Easter Monday in honor of the patron saint of the town. The hermitage is a 17th-century construction located in Dehesa de la Luz, where according to legend, the image of the Virgin appeared during the Reconquista.
  • Nuestra Señora de la Asunción Church: The parish church of Arroyo de la Luz is a Renaissance temple built in the 16th century on the remains of an old Gothic church. Its Plateresque facade and its main altarpiece, the work of Gaspar Becerra, stand out.
  • Casa de los Moraga: This 16th-century Renaissance palace is one of the most important buildings in Arroyo de la Luz's architectural heritage. It currently serves as the Town Hall and has a porticoed courtyard and a tower with a bell tower.
  • Cheese Interpretation Center: Cheese is one of the most typical products of Extremaduran cuisine, and in this center, you can learn everything about its elaboration and taste different varieties.
  • Ethnographic Museum: This museum houses an important collection of objects and tools related to daily life and traditions of the locality, such as farming tools, regional costumes, kitchen utensils, etc.
  • Medieval wall: Arroyo de la Luz preserves part of its ancient medieval wall, built in the 13th century by the Muslims and expanded by the Christians in the 15th century. The Homage Tower, an impressive tower that was part of the town's defensive system, can be visited.

These are just some of the attractions that Arroyo de la Luz offers. Undoubtedly, it is an ideal tourist destination for those who want to know the cultural and natural heritage of Extremadura.

Recommended Crafts and Shopping

Arroyo de la Luz is known for its leather craftsmanship, especially in the manufacture of boots and shoes. Additionally, it is also possible to find ceramics, embroidery, and typical products such as honey and olive oil. For recommended purchases, you can visit the local handicraft store "El Lagar," where you can find typical products and souvenirs. It is also interesting to visit the store "La Alacena de Arroyo," where you can buy local gastronomic products such as sausages, cheeses, and wines.

Recommended shopping items include cork objects such as coasters, bottle stoppers, leather bags and wallets, and gastronomic products such as olive oil, honey, and cheese. Also, during the celebration of the Day of Light, you can find handicrafts and local products in the fairgrounds.

What to eat in Arroyo de la Luz

The cuisine of Arroyo de la Luz is varied and has typical dishes of the Extremaduran region. Some of the most popular dishes are:

  • Caldereta de cordero: a lamb stew with potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes, seasoned with aromatic herbs such as thyme and rosemary.
  • Migas extremeñas: a traditional dish made with breadcrumbs, paprika, garlic, olive oil, and chorizo.
  • Scrambled eggs with wild asparagus: scrambled eggs with wild asparagus and garlic.
  • Hornazo: a savory pie filled with chorizo, ham, hard-boiled egg, and marinated pork loin.
  • Torta del Casar: a creamy and smooth cheese made with sheep's milk.

Additionally, in Arroyo de la Luz, the Cheese and Wine Fair is celebrated, where a wide variety of local cheeses, wines, and gastronomic products can be tasted.

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