Spring is that inspiring season that makes you want to get out and wrap yourself in wonderful colours and aromas, leaving your La Manga Club property for a few hours to revel in the natural riches of the region. The Bando de la Huerta, the climax of the Spring Festival in the capital, is the perfect event at which to do so, and will also let you sample the wide variety of products that are the fruit of the “Murcian Orchard”. The Tuesday after Easter, the 23rd of April, locals will take to the streets in traditional costumes and bring out traditional foods as well: beans, cured meats, and blood sausage, among others. They will be accompanied by ox carts and other ancient accoutrements and customs that will transport you into the past during this festival declared of “International Tourism Interest”.
Since the end of the XIX century, the city of Murcia has thrown itself fully into this holiday tightly bound to the history of the capital. The Bando de la Huerta is a day on which it is not only encouraged to remember the past, but to try to walk in the footsteps of the ancestors that paved the region’s future thanks to the time and effort spent working on farm and in field. So don’t be surprised, upon leaving our golf resort, to see many people dressed in period clothing or traditional costumes. It’s a day dedicated to enjoying michirones or zarangollo from the huts installed in parks and plazas, and to celebrate, with music and dancing, the joy of living in the Region of Murcia.
Like all great festival days in Murcia, the celebrations last from sun-up to sundown, but there are certain acts that repeat every year and which you should try not to miss. The first of these is the Misa Huertana (Rural Mass), in front of the Baroque façade of the Cathedral, followed by a procession headed by the image of the Virgin of Fuensanta, to whom an offering of flowers is made. In the afternoon, the procession of the Bando de la Huerta goes through the streets. Music and dance troupes, giants and people in costume accompany the procession of floats, horseback riders, and carts drawn by oxen, from which they distribute food like cured meat, blood sausage, dried sausage, or lima beans. Recalling those first years in which the Bando de la Huerta served to distribute food to the needy, the locals go dressed for the occasion with the men in breeches, vests, and traditional hats, and the women in traditional garments, aprons and kerchiefs, with their hair adorned with carnations.
Don’t miss this chance to leave your La Manga Club property behind for a few hours and participate in the Bando de la Huerta. This April 23rd, you’ll not only discover how Murcians used to dress and act, but also how they interpret the “soflamas panochas”. These satirical texts were written in the vernacular used in the rural areas (panocho), and are used today for the purposes of modern-day political or social criticism. And don’t forget about the music and the local jotas, or the traditional “tronaeras”, fireworks that are sure to make a bang.
If you have time to enjoy more days of the Murcian Spring Festival, try the Children’s Bando de la Huerta. Sunday, the 21st of April, it’s the little ones who are charged with bringing tradition alive and parading their pride in their heritage through the streets of the city. They’ll distribute candy and sweets, a pretty attractive offering if you happen to be at your La Manga Club property with the whole family.