Today, Sunday 19th May, Restabal celebrates probably the most important and definitely the most fun fiesta of the year – La Romería!
Romería translates as ‘pilgrimage’ and represents the villagers’ pilgrimage to deliver the Virgen del Cerro (aka Our Lady of Fátima*) back up to her hermitage.
Last week young people of the village came together to carry the Virgin’s effigy – a lovely statuette adorned with flowers – to the church of San Cristóbal. Today they will carry her back up the hill to her hermitage (la ermita) on top of the hill, high above the village.
The celebrations take place at the top of the hill outside the ermita and begin once the Virgin is safely back in her sanctuary, from where she will keep watch over the village and the surrounding countryside for another year.
Local families carry tables and chairs to the top of the hill, to enjoy and share fantastic picnics in the shade.
As with many village fiestas, there’s a huge paella, prepared for up to 350 people, which is sold to anyone who wishes to partake for a very reasonable price.
For a few euros you can also buy a ceramic mug of beer or a refreshing Tinto de Verano (summer red wine – usually red wine with ice and Fanta Limón or Gaseosa) with free refills as long as the barrel lasts!! And it can last a long time!
Many of the children dress up in traditional flamenco dresses and there’s a great brass band that plays up at the ermita, with a lot of dancing and merriment.
It’s the best weekend in the year in Restabal, bringing everyone together… and it’s today, so…Olé, it’s party time! 💃💃💃💃
*Our Lady of Fatima is so-called due to the famous ‘Marian apparitions’ reported in 1917 by three shepherd children at the Cova da Iria, in Fátima, Portugal.