Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fiesta de la Trashumancia

I have been looking forward to this festival since April when I knew I was moving and found out this sheep invasion:

I was not able to find out a ton of details about the festival, but I will tell you what I have learned.
Trashumancia is a bi-annual event. Shepherds move their sheep from the North of Spain to the South of Spain in the winter, and then back up in the spring. Trashumancia is the act of moving/traveling with the sheep. This has been going on for hundreds of years. Historically the Cañadas or the trails they shepherds drive the sheep down went through the city of Madrid. Obviously in recent years, that has not been possible, due to the sheer size of the city (I think it is the 3rd largest in Europe). The Cañadas now circles west of the city.

This festival, I believe, either started as a protest against building on the trial, or it happens every year to help keep awareness about the importance of keeping the trial clear. It is a long migration, Madrid is the the center of the country, and going a long way around it could be harmful to the health of the stock.

This parade, which I think annually happens the last Sunday in October, just goes from Casa de Campo around to Plaza de Cibeles, and back again, while the real migration happens West of the city.

Next year we hope to catch more, there is a ceremonial "paying of the tariff" that happens further down Calle Mayor. Where a 15th century coin is handed over with ceremony, and missed the regional dances that happened after the parade.

The parade started out with these huge sheep dogs and a guy playing a Concha shell horn (far left). You can probably tell from the metro sign that we watched this in Puerta de Sol. (click to enlarge)
 There were huge flags that were carried on a belt, and had people holding guy lines.
 There were regional flags from many parts of the route. I believe that the many traditional customs we saw represented different regions.
 Some people were singing.

 The North-Western part of Spain was Gaelic, and bag pipes were represented. Check out their shoes, this is the traditional shepherd's shoe, and about 60% of the parade marchers were wearing them.
 I love this photo. So adorable, he had his little lamb and they were both posing for photos.
 Finally the sheep. The sheep came in stages, and there were people marching between them. It was so cool to look up and down the street at a river of sheep. The sheep were very oddly silent.

 They were a LOT of horses. Many of the horses were urged to dance for us. I love how this photo captured the bond between horse and man.
 A different type of Sheep!
 This picture captures two different type of traditional shawls. Shawls are big here in Spain, both traditionally and in all the shop windows this year (apparently the more fringe the better).

 Not everyone was dressed up in this parade, and a shocking number of them rode by on their horse talking on their cell phones, or drinking Coke in traditional dress. This regularly dressed woman had a lamb following her.
 Sorry for the back shot, but a lof our photos came out blurry due to the speed of the parade/lighting. These people were not only wearing the shoes, but mostly dressed in boiled wool.

 There were a lot of Oxen, I am not sure if you have notice yet but there was no barriers to keep people back. Several of these Ox were feisty, apparently I almost got gored while taking a photo, oh and this woman you see in front kept touching every animal, I was afraid that she was going to tick off a horse and that by the time it got around to kicking, I would be it's victim.
 Finally to end up, a guy in regular clothes taking a picture of his friends, also on horses, with his Iphone in a Spanish flag cover.


  1. Great to hear about the parade!

  2. Those dogs are great! And the little lamb getting a ride is so cute! I wonder where one would purchase shoes like that...