Festival of the Rondels
We invite you to visit the village of Casarabonela, a picturesque place located in the province of Malaga, with a Moorish air and narrow, steep streets, with their white façades surrounded by flowers. In December, they celebrate the Fiesta de los Rondeles in style.
This festivity, which has been held on 12 December since the 18th century, represents a thanksgiving for the olive harvest, dating back to the time of the Roman Candlemas, on the eve of Santa Lucia.
What is the Fiesta de Los Rondeles?
It is a very special and hot night, in which day labourers and millers offer 30 rondeles lit with fire to the Virgin of Los Rondeles (the esparto grass mats that come from the olive milling).
Lit by the unique light of the fire of the rondeles impregnated with oil, the rondeleros walk through the village at night in a nocturnal procession, to the sound of carols, Moorish castanets, drums and rattles.
You will experience unique sensations of lights, shadows and sounds in this magical procession of the Virgin of La Pastora, from the hermitage of La Veracruz to the Church of Señor Santiago. At the end of the religious service the attendees will enjoy a good hot chocolate with fritters and bread and oil. What a delight!
Origins of the Rondeles celebration
It is estimated that this festival originated in the year 1582, as a Christian rite to celebrate the dedication of Santa Lucia and the celebration of the winter solstice, with fire and the old esparto grass mats used in the olive presses as essential elements of the celebration, to give thanks for the protection of the crops of the locality.
Curiosities of the Fiesta de los Rondeles
- Carabonela has been declared a biosphere reserve by Unesco and has been chosen as a tourist destination par excellence by the European Community.
- This unique festival had been celebrated until the end of the sixties, but this tradition has been revived since 1983 until the present day.
Recommendations for visitors
In the days leading up to the celebration of this festival you can enjoy the following activities organised annually by the Asociación Amigos de los Rondeles and the Casarabonela Town Hall. Not to be missed!
- Olive Oil Market in the Plaza de Casarabonela. You will love this artisan market.
- "El Rondel Tapas Route". Taste the delicious local tapas, related to this great festival.
- Gastronomic Route, where you will get to know the bars and restaurants of the town, tasting the typical dishes of Casarabonela.
- Hiking routes and natural environment of great value, with guided tours of cycling and walking routes, organized by the municipality of Casarabonela, where you can learn and enjoy its wonderful natural landscapes. Casarabonela is close to the Costa del Sol, and on the edge of the Sierra de las Nieves National Park, so it has several interesting hiking trails, such as climbing to Sierra Prieta and Cabrilla, the viewpoint of the Bell, or Sierra de Alcaparaín, among others. In some areas we can also see a type of fir tree that is almost extinct, the Pinsapo.
What else can you do in Casarabonela if you go to the festival of Los Rondeles?
- QasrBunayra Castle (9th century), declared a site of cultural interest.
- Santiago Apóstol church, the town's most important monument, with a
- Museum of Sacred Art and a magnificent collection of gold and silver work.
- Chapel of La Veracruz (18th century). This building has a very original brick façade and is the home of the Virgen de La Pastora, known as "Virgen de Los Rondeles".
- Molino de los Mizos, don't miss the opportunity to visit an old mill complex, used to obtain olive oil and flour. It has a collection of utensils used for agricultural work.
- Botanical Garden "Mora IBravard", has a spectacular collection of 2,500 species of cactus and succulents, the most important in Europe. It has an outdoor garden and state-of-the-art glass greenhouses. You can take a journey through different continents and countries in one place, to learn about the morphological variability of the species.
Gastronomy in Casarabonela
Casarabonela's gastronomy is very varied and special. You will love it! We recommend you to try some of its emblematic dishes:
- Conejo y chivo a la pastoril: prepared with a rich sauce based on Iberian bacon, thyme, oregano, laurel, beer, white wine, fried or toasted almonds, liver offal and fried cateto bread.
- Pipeo: this succulent dish is very nutritious and healthy, made with fresh broad beans, peas, donkey's ear lettuce, potatoes, artichokes, fried almonds, fried bread and garlic.
- Pork cheek: this dish is prepared in sauce, with the cheeks or fatty parts of the pig, accompanied by potatoes that melt in your mouth. A real delicacy.