|The Festival of Devils (La Endiablada)|
The Festival of Devils (La Endiablada)
Almonicid del MarquesadoCuenca, Castille la Mancha Spain
To celebrate the ' Purification of the Virgin Mary', (popularly known as La Candelaria) on February 2nd, and to honour the towns patron saint 'San Blas' the Day of San Blas on the 3rd the people of Almonacid del Marquesado wear colourful hats, masks, leather harnesses and cowbells and parade around the streets.This is La Endiablada.
A fiesta held since the 13th century only men born in the town may join the brotherhood and therefore take part in one of Spain's weirdest festivals. The brotherhood has a Head Devil, a position which is held for life and his job as is the rest of the one hundred men who waddle about the town dressed up as devils, wearing a combination of pyjamas, a bishop's mitre and long bells over their backsides the size of cannon shells is to scare off Satan himself, distracting him with their exaggerated shows of emotion to keep him from attacking the purity of the Virgin Mary. They start at the entrance of the church, where they pretend to wash the statue of the town's patron saint, `San Blas'. On each day there is a morning procession where the devils precede the statue in two lines on either side of the street carrying clubs which they continually shake. As the procession makes its ways around the church the devils in turn or in groups run straight toward the statue with his arms outstretched in an exaggerated gesture in supplication or offering.
All the time the there is the deafening and uninterrupted clanging of cowbells on the backs of the devils.
After the church mass the fiesta continues where the women of the village dance traditional dances.