FIESTAS IN TEH NEIGHBOURDHOOD OF SAN SEBASTIÁN
These are amongst the oldest traditions recorded in Cehegín, with documentation showing their existence going back to the 15th century. It´s a fiesta which revolves around fire, based on the tradition of using fire as a protector from, and cleanser of, plague and illness. Saint Sebastian is associated with protection from illness and as a protector of military personnel, and was very popular in Spain during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Cehegín has recently cleared up the area known as Paraje del Santo, which surrounds the old ruined hermitage of San Sebastian, which has magnificent views of the surrounding area, and is now a tourism viewpoint. The activities of this fiesta take part principally between this old hermitage and the Plaza del Castillo in Cehegin’s old quarter, right at the top of the old town.
On Friday the bells will ring to announce the beginning of the fiestas and the first big bonfire, called a Castillo by the locals. It will be lit in the Plaza del Castillo with refreshments for all who attend.
On Saturday morning, Leaving from the Plaza del Castillo volunteers head off out into the woods to collect wood for the bonfires and enjoy a meal together…
In the afternoon there are games for children in the Plaza del Castillo and later the torchbearers gather at the Ermita de San Sebastian to parade down into Cehegín to light the second bonfire of San Sebastian in the Plaza del Castillo
After that, there is an exhibition of local gastronomy by the peñas sebastianistas.
Tasting of cochino mareao prepared during the evening, preparation of Migas Ruleras prepared by the groups, and the evening entertainment provided by local group.
On Sunday there is a Pasacalles by the Cuadrilla de Animeros del Campillo de los Jiménez throughout the streets of the old quarter. The cuadrillas are a traditional music group, singing the old folk music of the region, using a variety of string and percussion instruments. It´s very comfortable music and is entertaining to go along with them and enjoy the music.
After that the Romeria of San Sebastian takes place from the Iglesia de Santa María Magdalena to the Plaza del Mesoncico. (up at the top of the old quarter). Accompanied by the Cuadrilla and a big crowd, the image of the saint is transferred from the Iglesia to the Plaza. Romerias are fun to follow, walking with the music and the saint, try it, once people start going to romerias they go all over the region to be part of it. Just take a stick, wear sensible shoes and off you go.
In Plaza del Mesoncico there is a musical mass, sung by the Cuadrilla de Animeros del Campillo de los Jiménez. At the end of the mass, a traditional cake which is made specifically for this day, called Flechas del santo is blessed and handed out to participants, along with oranges.
The Flechas de San Sebastian are a cake made from Pasta Flora, which is a very sweet pastry mix which you´ll usually find filled with angels hair, a sweet jammy substance made with a type of squash. This gives a slightly crunchy texture to these types of cakes and they are absolutely delicious. These little cakes, flechas meaning arrows, are made in an arrow shape by Dulces Motolite in Plaza Mesoncico which is the most important patisserie in Cehegín, and they only prepare these little pastries on this day of the year.
Later there is the return of the Romeria to the Iglesia de Santa María Magdalena and the Sampling of rices and local drinks.