Romeria Nacional de los Gitanos

Romeria Nacional de los Gitanos or in English National Pilgrimage of the Romani people has been organized since 1969 in the town of Cabra, Córdoba located in central Andalucia, Spain. It is held on the third Sunday in June. The man who is regarded as the founder of this tradition is Jose Córdoba Reyes. The pilgrimage is organized by the Romani Diocese of Córdoba, Institute of Romani culture and tourist office of Cabra.

Virgen de la Sierra
Virgen de la Sierra

Some 400 Romani and non-Romani (“payos”) people arriving to this pilgrimage honour the “Virgen de la Sierra” (María Santísima de la Sierra). She is the patron saint of Cabra. Local Romani people call her “Majari Cali”. Romeria Nacional de los Gitanos among other participants includes two Romani Catholic brotherhoods - El Cautivo Catholic Brotherhood from Málaga and Cristo de los Gitanos Brotherhood from Seville.

Sanctuary of Virgen de la Sierra
Sanctuary of Virgen de la Sierra

Sound of traditional flamenco music can be heard at the mass. After the mass there is a procession. People carry the image of the Virgin around the sanctuary. Many pilgrims tear apart their shirts as expression of their devotion. They sing “alboradas” and other traditional songs.

The Romani pilgrimage is also the culinary feast. There are various delicacies available. One of them is the gigantic paella. Romeria Nacional de los Gitanos is the event of national tourist importance.