The Encamisá of Torrejoncillo

Every 7 December, the Torrejoncillo horsemen dress in white to accompany the standard of the Immaculate Conception

White sheets for the Immaculate Conception

Location and Contact:

Torrejoncillo , Cáceres (Extremadura)
  • Every 7 December, the Torrejoncillo horsemen dress in white to accompany the standard of the Immaculate Conception

    Every year, on the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, hundreds of people from Torrejoncillo flood the streets to celebrate the Encamisá, a popular festival in this town that is considered a Festival of Interest to Tourists in Extremadura.

    At 10 o'clock at night on 7th December, the doors of San Andrés Parish Church open up and a blue standard with a picture of the Immaculate Conception embroidered on it is brought out. At the same time, a group of people cover the surroundings of the Plaza Mayor square in smoke and the smell of gunpowder as they fire their guns, saluting the Virgin. When the standard is presented to the prefect, who is riding a horse dressed colourfully for the occasion and accompanied on both sides by two more riders, hundreds of other riders following behind cheer and applaud him with all their heart.

    All the horsemen wear white sheets over their faces, adorned with beautiful stitching and, in a few special cases, with stars. And so the procession goes on, in an endless cloud of gunpowder moving along the steep streets of the town. SStreets where the visitors wait around joritañas (bonfires) lit to keep out the cold and where the smallest members of the household burn their "jachas", or in other words, bunches of asphodels (lilies) lovingly prepared for them by their parents and grandparents.

    Two and a half hours later, the standard returns to the church amid the loyal cheers of those present and the prefects invite all the participants to come and have some typical cakes and tomato juice from the region.

    There are those who say that the festival is of Roman origin, whilst others say that it is a one-hundred-per-cent Moorish tradition. But the truth is that nobody knows for certain where the tradition of the Encamisá comes from. The theory that has gained most weight with the people of Torrejoncillo is that it may be due to warlike reminiscences of the Battle of Pavía. According to legen, during the campaign, Captain ávalos (a native of Torrejoncillo) hid his men under sheets in the snow. With this rudimentary camouflage, the Spanish managed to win the battle. When they returned to the town and told the story of what had happened, the feat began to grow in importance when it became known that the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception had helped ávalos' men to win.

  • Type:
  • Tourist Interest in Extremadura
  • Event subject:
  • Religion
  • Popular traditions
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    • Events

    Target audience:

    • Families
    • Young people
    • Single people
    • Senior citizens
    • Children
    • Couples
    • Single people


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