We know what you’re thinking: this looks dangerously reminiscent of horrible images we’ve all seen from the civil rights era in the USA, or the recent uprisings in the middle east, or more generally, revolutionary eruption anywhere anytime.
Stay calm, this is none of that!
This is “Los Escobazos”, a festival held every December 7th in Jarandilla de la Vera on the eve of the celebration of the Immaculate Conception. Literally “The Big Brooming” (as in broom used for sweeping), the festival re-enacts the descent of goat shepherds from the nearby Gredos mountains down to the village, lighting their way through the pitch dark night with broom torches.
The Escobazos always occurred the night before the Immaculate Conception to allow shepherds to celebrate and still be back with their sheep the next morning. In fact, they would often bring their donkeys as well hoping that the blessing of the Immaculate Conception would keep their animals healthy during the upcoming year.
It’s a big deal, Jarandilla literally comes to a stop for the several days surrounding the event. The festival itself lasts several hours into the night, with bonfires and broom torches everywhere. Surrounding villagers all join in as well.
Unfortunately this past December 2013 we missed it – in fact we were in Jarandilla at the time but had to return to the USA just 3 days before the festivities began…
We hope to make it in 2014, and if you’re interested remember: we know a lot of people in Jarandilla de la Vera and we know all the ins and outs – drop us a note and we’ll hook you up!