Saints’ days are often the highlight of a village’s calendar and Gaucín’s Santo Niño celebrations are no exception. Santo Niño, which takes place on the 7th and 8th of September each year, includes processions, masses in the church and dancing in the Plaza del Santo Niño from 11 pm through the night until dawn on both nights.
The final parade – a solemn procession of the statues of Santo Niño and San Juan de Dios – begins around 5.30 pm on the 8th September.
The village band lead the procession which starts at the church and winds slowly through Gaucín’s narrow streets. The magnificent and heavy litters require several men to carry them on their shoulders. The villagers shuffle silently behind the litters headed up by a group of elegantly dressed ladies in their beautiful lace mantillas and crowds throng the streets to watch as the procession passes by.
The legend of Santo Niño dates back almost 500 years. One hot August day in 1536 a bookseller named Juan Ciudad was walking from Gibraltar to Gaucín. When he stopped to rest just outside the village Juan came across a barefoot child and offered to carry the child on his shoulders for the rest of the journey.
The child began to glow and holding out a pomegranate with a cross stuck in it told him “Juan de Dios, Granada will be your cross.” In 1540 Don Juan returned to Gaucín bringing with him the statue of the Santo Niño.
Santo Niño kicks off with the Romería de La Adelfilla on the last Sunday in August when the villagers retrace Don Juan’s journey with a procession carrying the image of Santo Niño from the church of San Sebastián and follow the Camino de Gibraltar to the Ermita de San Juan for a flamenco mass followed by a paella party before returning to the village at dusk.
All images © Pip Art