The Candelas

Take part in this fiesta and shake off all those bad omens and purify yourself with the light of the bonfires.

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The Fiesta of Light

Location and Contact:

Almendralejo , Badajoz (Extremadura)
  • Take part in this fiesta and shake off all those bad omens and purify yourself with the light of the bonfires.

    Every 1 February Almendralejo burns in flames at eight o'clock in the evening. The bells of the Almendros Tower announce the moment throughout the capital of Tierra de Barros that the bonfires or "candelas" that lend their name to this fiesta begin to burn.

    Ten days beforehand, the residents' associations, schools or simply groups of families or friends will have worked to build the biggest bonfire possible in the streets and squares of the town, using wood, furniture and any old bits and bobs they want to get rid of. The "Pantarujas", a figure representing evil spirits, is placed on top of the pyre, who will of course be duly burnt to a cinder.

    Anyone who has witnessed the event will confirm that it is an unforgettable experience. So if you're in the vicinity of Almendralejo that day, why not stay over night and enjoy The Candelas fiesta. There you'll be able to mix and socialise with the locals from these parts in a day of sharing in which they celebrate the arrival of spring with hope; the hope that the beginning of a new farming year will be one of plenty, given that the Almendralejo economy relies on local agricultural activity.

    This is a tradition that dates back to the 17th century according to the documentary evidence. Though it is believed to have originated long before then. All of which explains why the Candelas fiesta has been declared a Festivity of Tourist Interest in Extremadura.

    Moreover, this festivity affords you a golden opportunity to sample local cuisine, such as produce prepared from the annual pig slaughter custom, particularly the chorizo sausages, the typical "migas de barros" (fried breadcrumbs with smoked bacon, dry peppers, paprika etc.) or roasted "pestorejos" (pig's head pieces), washed down with the best local red or sparkling white wines.

    In the evening, before lighting the bonfires, Almendralejo locals go for a walk around the town visiting the different bonfires that are soon to go up in flames, carrying off with them all the bad things that happened the year before. Meanwhile, children's and young people's folk groups spend this day of unity entertaining the public with their traditional dances.

    The Candelas Fiesta does not come to an end with the bonfires. The next day, hundreds of young children are presented before the Virgin of La Candelaria in the parish church of La Purificación after the traditional blessing of the candles, thus remembering the day Jesus was presented in the temple. Every year, in commemoration, a cake and two candles are given as an offering. If you like religious events, next you can take part in a procession around the temple lit up by the recently blessed candles.

  • Type:
  • Tourist Interest in Extremadura
  • Event subject:
  • Popular traditions
  • Start date:
    End date:


    • Events

    Target audience:

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


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