San Isidro Festival in Yecla

San Isidro Festival in Yecla
It celebrates: From 10th May to 19th May
Place: Yecla (Murcia)
Category: Tradition
Popularity: (***) 3/5
Ideal for children
Organize: Yecla City Council
Known start date: Since 1816
Figure of protection: Festival of National Tourist Interest (since 2021)
Liturgical ActsCavalcadeParadesNational Tourist InterestUrban
Reading time: 4 minutes and a half

What are the San Isidro Festivities in Yecla?

The San Isidro Festivities in Yecla are a celebration that takes place on the closest weekend to May 15th, in honor of the patron saint of farmers. This festivity features numerous interesting events, such as parades and processions, bonfires, and the election of the Queen and Ladies of the festivities. The most striking moment is the Parade of Floats, where a large number of groups take to the streets with elaborately decorated floats with agricultural or Yecla-related motifs, made from colorful tissue paper.

The Federation of Groups of the San Isidro Festivities, established in 2000, aims to coordinate the increase of groups that join the festivities each year, while preserving the originality and customs of the main events to maintain tradition. The Yecla City Council, through the Departments of Festivities, Culture, and Tourism, as well as the federated groups, collaborate and support the organization and development of these festivities.

These festivities were declared of National Touristic Interest in 2021 in recognition of their tourist attraction and their work in preserving Yecla's cultural tradition.

The history behind these festivities is very interesting. It is said that during the 17th century, the city of Yecla suffered a severe drought that severely affected agriculture and the local economy. In an effort to solve this problem, a group of farmers and artisans from the city formed a brotherhood dedicated to San Isidro, the patron saint of farmers, and began to celebrate festivities in his honor.

During the San Isidro festivities, a great variety of typical regional dishes can be enjoyed, such as rabbit rice, zarangollo, and Murcian empanadas.

Origin and History

The history of the San Isidro Festivities in Yecla, Spain, began in 1816 with the creation of a company for the lighting of water. The company was later renamed as the Royal Company of Water Lighting of San Isidro and was fundamental in the creation of an image of San Isidro Labrador and a chapel in the hermitage of Santa Barbara. The image was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War in 1936, but the celebration of the saint's festivity continued, with bonfires on the night of May 14th and a procession and solemn mass on the morning of May 15th.

In the early 1940s, the Syndicalist Brotherhoods of Farmers and Ranchers promoted the San Isidro festivities throughout Spain. The Yecla Brotherhood acquired a new image of San Isidro in 1943, and on May 15th, 1945, a procession was held that became the modern San Isidro festivities in Yecla. The celebration now takes place throughout the month of May and includes the proclamation of the queen and ladies, an offering from the groups, a procession to the hermitage of Santa Barbara, and a float parade.

The San Isidro Labrador festivities are the result of Yecla's devotion to the patron saint of farmers since the 19th century. The Royal Company of Water Lighting of San Isidro brought the cult of the saint to Yecla and installed an image of San Isidro in the hermitage of Santa Barbara. Bonfires, rockets, and bells were part of the festivities on May 14th, and a procession and solemn mass on May 15th.

The Agricultural and Livestock Trade Unions and the Brotherhood of Yecla helped promote and organize the modern San Isidro festivities in Yecla, which now include the proclamation of the queen and ladies, an offering from the local groups, a procession to the hermitage of Santa Barbara, and a parade of floats.

What to see in Yecla

Yecla is a Spanish city located in the region of Murcia, known for its cultural and gastronomic heritage. Some of the most prominent places and tourist attractions you can visit in Yecla are:

  • The old town of Yecla: The historic center of Yecla has numerous historical buildings and charming squares, such as the Plaza Mayor and the Plaza del Ayuntamiento.
  • Municipal Archaeological Museum of Yecla: This museum houses an important collection of archaeological objects from the Iberian and Roman periods, as well as from the local culture.
  • Yecla Wine Museum: Yecla is famous for its wines, and this museum offers an interesting introduction to the history and production of wine in the region.
  • Yecla Castle: Located on a hill near the city center, this medieval castle offers impressive views of Yecla and the surrounding area.
  • Church of the Purísima: This 18th-century church is one of the most important religious buildings in Yecla, with an impressive baroque facade and an interior decorated with frescoes and sculptures.
  • Azorín Route: This tourist route will take you through some of the most emblematic places in Yecla related to the life and work of the writer José Martínez Ruiz, better known as Azorín.
  • Dolmens Route: This route will take you to discover some of the most important dolmens in the region, dating back to prehistoric times.

What to eat in Yecla

Yecla is famous for its gastronomy, especially for its wines and meat dishes, such as rabbit rice or matanza gazpacho. Rich in traditional dishes and local products. Some of the typical dishes in the area are:

  • Yecla Gazpacho: a cold soup made from tomato, cucumber, pepper, garlic, bread, and olive oil.
  • Rice with rabbit and snails: a stew of rice with rabbit, snails, garlic, tomato, pepper, and other vegetables.
  • Yecla Meatballs: large meatballs made with pork and breadcrumbs, which are usually served with rice.
  • Cured meats: Yecla is known for its handmade cured meats, such as chorizo, black pudding, and salchichón.
  • Cheeses: the area produces goat and sheep cheeses, such as fresh cheese, cured cheese, or rosemary cheese.
  • Wine: Yecla is a wine-producing region with a long tradition in the production of wine, especially reds, which are made with Monastrell grapes.

These local dishes and products can be found in the city's restaurants and bars, as well as in the Wine and Gastronomy Fair of Yecla, which is held every year in September.

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