Santa Agueda

Santa Agueda or Saint Agatha's Day is honouring the famous saint from the Italian island of Sicily. It is celebrated on Sunday the closest to 5th of February. The festivities lasts from Thursday to Tuesday.

The celebration of Santa Agueda in the Spanish village of Zamarramala, Castilla y Leon is rather unique. It is believed that the tradition started in 1227. Zammarramala has been declared the place national tourist interest.

On Thursday morning village representatives visit the provincial capital of Segovia to get the baton and other authorities needed for the festival. They wear special clothes.

On Saturday afternoon the villagers choose two women to rule in their village during the festival. Those women are called the Alcaldesinas. It takes more than two hours for the women to get dressed in their 16th century style costume. The most important part of the costume is the montera type of hat called the "Twelve Apostles". The women also wear rings, earrings, the special golden cross and various relics.

The festivities honouring Santa Agueda start in the early hours of Sunday. At noon two mayoresses receive the priest and other important members of local community. Then there is a big procession. Many people carry various flags. Two Alcaldesinas perform the dance known as “Baile de las Alcaldesas”.

Baile de las Alcaldesas
Baile de las Alcaldesas

The Santa Agueda festivities also include burning of the male figure at the village square. Nowadays it is a chance for the members of community to have good time. In the past this act also represented the way local women used to show their rebellion against male dominated society.

Everything finishes with lot of traditional food, music and dance. Typical delicacy is the chorizo stew. Chorizo is the traditional Spanish sausage. Monday is the day dedicated almost entirely to local women. As it is working day there are less tourists. Two mayoresses are dressed in blue cloak. They participate in the dance called “la gala”. Their short, but busy, term in office ends on Tuesday.