Life at Casa Tyr
October harvest festival
On the 7th of October, the patron saint of Yunquera, the Virgen del Rosario (Virgin of the Rosary) was honoured. On this date, some of the locality’s most ancient customs are recalled, such as the offering of grapes to the patron saint. Once the devotional duties have been complied with, a small grape trampling activity is held on the village square in which anyone who wishes can participate (none do!!).
Next, the village celebrates their grape harvest. Young girls in flamenco dress walked down the main street, carrying a basket of grapes, which they then dump into a barrel in the square. As per last year, a woman in the village, in full traditional dress, climbed into a large half barrel and trampled the grapes accompanied by guitars and singing. She seemed to enjoy the tradition as much as last year, and really showed off for the crowd!
A dance troupe also performed, with castanets and flags, wearing traditional outfits, and accompanied by guitars. The 'king and queen of Yunquera' are also honoured, with sashes and flowers. This year's king was a young man with down's syndrome, who always participates in the fiestas, and was delighted to be the centre of attention this year!
After the celebrations of the grape harvest, butchers of the village showed off their best sausages, meats and cold cuts, all laid out for everyone to taste. This wasn't easy, as the older women immediate rush in to the tables - it is quite a free-for-all! On another day a huge paella is cooked in the square, and everyone can have a plate, all for free.
Live music is also on hand - the band usually plays during the afternoon, then starts again about 11 pm and continues until around 5 or 6 - you need a strong constitution to party along with the Spaniards, and we've never quite managed it!
The especially nice thing about this fiesta is that the village population swells enormously. All family members from many generations - grandparents, cousins, second cousins, brothers, sisters - turn up for huge family lunches. Relatives who have moved to the more prosperous coast or to large cities such as Barcelona all come back to Yunquera to help celebrate.
Unlike many other places in the world, these fiestas are not merely an excuse to party, they are important in renewing family ties - and Yunqueranos very much take this to heart.