The Endiablada

The Endiablada
It celebrates: From 1st February to 3rd February
Place: Almonacid del Marquesado (Cuenca)
Category: Representation
Popularity: (****) 4/5
Ideal for children
Organize: Almonacid del Marquesado City Council
Figure of protection: Festival of National Tourist Interest and Asset of Cultural Interest
Peculiar CostumesNational Tourist InterestPatron saintRareNoisy
Reading time: 2 minutes

The Fiesta de la Endiablada is held at the beginning of February in Almonacid del Marquesado in honour of the Virgen de la Candelaria and San Blas, where hundreds of devils dressed in colourful costumes and with large cowbells hanging on their backs, walk through the streets of the village accompanied by "las danzantas", carrying the saints in procession with jumps and dances.

This festival is one of the oldest traditions in Castilla La Mancha and has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest and a Festival of National Tourist Interest, due to its rich living heritage that has remained unchanged over time.

For centuries, the inhabitants of Almonacid del Marquesado have kept the tradition alive, passing it down from generation to generation, with a legend that explains the reason for these devils.

The legend behind the Almonacid devils

Oral tradition has handed down two theories about the origin of this Cuenca celebration, depending on whether it refers to La Candelaria or San Blas.

The Candelaria theory says that the Virgin was ashamed of having to present the child Jesus in the temple, as there was no known man who could be the father. This is why the devils made their appearance, attracting the attention of the people and thus freeing the Virgin from the malicious gazes of others.

The theory of San Blas states that some shepherds found the image of the saint buried in the area of "Los Manajares", which caused a dispute with the neighbouring municipality of Puebla de Almenara. It is said that the saint resolved the dispute in favour of Almonacid, and the joy of the shepherds was translated into the sound of the cowbells of their livestock, which they hung on their backs to celebrate. To wash the saint's face they used what they had at hand: aguardiente. And this is still repeated today.

Curiosities of the Endiablada

The festival of the Endiablada has a great representative and symbolic value and has many curiosities. We will tell you some of them, although if you really want to get to know it, the best thing to do is to experience it in all its splendour.

  • To be a devil in this festival, you have to belong to the Brotherhood of Los Diablos, which is only open to the inhabitants of Almonacid, their descendants or those who have married a woman from Almonacid. Outsiders will only be able to see the devils.
  • We can find, as devils, from young children to octogenarian elders.
  • Only one older devil is named, who will be the devil for life.
  • The dancers are women, although this was not always the case. Until the 1980s they were men.
  • Nowadays the dance troupe consists of 8 dancers, the palillera and the mayoress of the dance.
  • Since 2012 the dance has been purely female.
  • The devils also dance, but with much less variety than the danzantas, to drum and dulzaina music.

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