The most important fair of Ronda has its origin at the city quarter of San Francisco. Since more than hundred years, the fair took place at the traditional dates of september 8th, 9th and 10th, and organized by the neighbours of the Almocabar Gate, the Laurel's Castle and the Convent of San Francisco, and using the name of the Chapel of Nuestra Señora de Gracia. On august, 25th, 1881, the fair moved to the market's quarter, the same place where the May Fair was taking also place.
At 1882 and for the first time, the september fair took place at the market's quarter. At that age, the May Fair was still the most important celebration in Ronda, but, slowly and through the years, the Semptember Fair took more importance each time. Since 1954, and once the September Fair was changed into the Pedro Romero Fair, this Celebration became the most important of the city of Ronda.
At the second half of august the first events announcing the coming Fair are organized, like some Theater performances, the Fair's Opening Speech, the presentation of the Goyaesque Ladies - real stars of the Fair -, the Flamenco singing Festival, several sports competitions,...
When the first week of september arrives, the great Ronda's festive week arrives. At these dates, Ronda's neighbours and visitors are invited to enjoy of a colourful city, plenty of music, dance, singing, wines and, specially, its people, "very good people" as the Andalusian people say. Ronda offers its best and shows to everyone a great number of cultural and enjoy options. Touch, smell, taste, hearing and sight are activated and it is possible to enjoy the spring for a second time during some days.
When the International Folklore Music and Dancing Festival starts, the Fair is in the air. The Fair and Festival of Pedro Romero starts officially with the Parade (an opportunity to admire for the first time the most beautiful women, the Goyaesques) and also with the Switching of the Fair Place's artistic lights. When the night comes, the senses are excited, confused and mixed at the Real (the Fair's Place), a place where, as the famous singer Juan Manuel Serrat would say, each one is every one.
Everything is joy, everything life, everything shines, everything jumps.Made of liquid and round the table, the golden waves run said the poet Salvador Rueda. Everything is colours and glances, noises and shouts, laughs, joy and dance.
Everything is ready, so the older and younger people can have fun at the Feria del Centro (Fair in the midle of the city) and at the different music events at the Municipal Caseta (a provisory building specially made each year for singing, dancing, drink a cup and, in one word, enjoying).We will arrive slowly to the desired and long waited Saturday, the Saturday of theTraditional Goyaesque Bullfighting, a date when all the bullfighting fans will live, feel and get excited with the echoes of the "Olés" roared at our wonderful stone Bullring.
It's the most important bullfighting afternoon, plenty of light and violet colour at the sky, an afternoon of winging fans at Ronda's bullring, with it's goyaesque history and its Cavalry Order. It's the most important meeting, and a dreamed of bullfight is long awaited, like something living deep at the heart's inside. Looking at that national monument specially decorated for this event, with smells of cigars, sweets, small wineskins and exciting silences, the eyes cannot find one limited where to stop, because the beauty seen and heard is always increasing and non stopping.
The Goyaesque Bullfight has got its own personality which makes it different. The reason for this is the combination of an incredible show with the spectacular frame for it of the two hundred years old Bullring of the Royal Cavalry Order of Ronda. Lots of details make ofthe Goyaesque Bullfight an special event. Without any kind of doubt, some of them are the legendary name of Ronda and its ancient history, the more investigated it is, the older it becomes. In addition to this, the romantic travelers have to be mentioned, and of course, after them, the shock and enthusiastic feeling of Orson Welles and Ernest Hemingway.
The first Goyaesque Bullfight was celebrated at 1954 because of the second century birth's celebration of the Ronda's world known bullfighter Pedro Romero.
But that's not all !! The Carriage's Contest and the Ronda's Horse Bullfighting still wait for visitors and Ronda's neighbours. The gold looking iron attachements of the horses, the magnificient saddlery works, the leather hand made boots and trousers of the riders, the litle bells of the horses making an art courtain sounding like a symphony of the carriages and horses.
When the last day arrives, the city awakes returning into the 21st century. A magic week has passed through. During it, it has been possible to go back to the 18th century, and, for some days, everyone has noticed that the watch has been looked in a different way. A watch showing only the time for enjoy, a time for fiesta, a time for art.
And it can be also seen that, although the Fair and Festival of Pedro Romero have finished, we are still in Ronda, we can still be dreaming, we still can smell the art, to dream of the bullfighter's movements, of the mountain's bandits, of the beautiful women, of the purity. At least, everyone smells of Ronda, as the poet Juan Ramón Jiménez said: "Ronda high and deep, categoric, profound, round and high..."
The origins of the celebration of the Holy week in Ronda have to be found in the conquest of the city by the Catholic Monarchs, being one spectacular religious event and one of the spiritual, cultural, artistic and popular traditions causing the deepest feelings among the population.
The first existing news about that celebration date of 1538. There are documents proofing that at may, 29th of that year, the Rules of the Holy Fraternity of the Cross, Blood and Injures of our Lord Jesuchrist where signed and authorized by the bishop of Malaga, Sr. Fray Bernardo Manrique.
At 1574 the rules of the Royal Fraternity of the Holy Funeral of Christ and the Virgin at her Loneliness. were also signed and authorized as legal.
Another important new is linked to the Fraternity of the Holy Christ at his Blood, appearing at several documents and at reports about Ronda at 1568. Anyway, the most important new about that fraternity appears at the History of Ronda, written by Moretti (19th century) where is told this brotherhood being located at the church of San Juanico de Letrán el Real at 1683.
There can be seen the letter sent by one member of the fraternity of the Virgin at her Sufferings, demanding one certificate at september, 4th, 1690. By its side, the fraternity of the Holy Christ of the Remedios was re-organized at at 1844, being added to the mentioned fraternity of the Virgin at her Sufferings (Hermandad de las Angustias) at 1959.
Dated of 1713 have been found one bill for the payment of ten Requiem mass for the soul of the member of the Ecce-Homo's fraternity D. Diego de Chaves. This makes us think that the mentioned brotherhood existed since some time ago, which has rested alive and arrived to our days. This also happens to the fraternity of Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno y de La Soledad (Jesus of Nazaret and the Virgin of the Loneliness), whose first documental new appears at 1698 with a list of the people belonging to that brotherhood taking part at its annual procession, which shows that considering that date, the fraternity existed since some years before.
In addition to all these examples of our fraternities' age, which means also, of the celebration of the Holy Week, we can talk about the Fraternity of Virgin of the Loneliness (Soledad), founded at 1721 and reorganized at 1948.
At the 20th century, and, to be more accurate, at the 40ies, the popular fraternity of Nuestro Padre Jesús en la Columna y Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza. (Our Lord Jesuchrist beaten tied to a column and the Virgin of the Hope) was founded. At the 50ies is founded the brotherhood of the Holy Entrance at Jerusalem, known as "La Pollinica" (the little donkey, refering to the animal at whose horseback Jesus entered Jerusalem) and the brotherhood of Jesus' Prayer at the Orchard, which has celebrated recently its 50th anniversary.
It is important to remark that, nowadays, the following fraternities are at its legal constitution process: The Cofradía Sacramental y Hermandad de Nuestro Padre Jesús del Prendimiento y María Santísima del Rosario en su Misterio Doloroso.(the fraternity of Jesus being arrested at the Orchard). The great gypsy family of Ronda wants also to put into practise one idea, coming from the 50ies, which is to found the Hermandad de Nuestro Padre Jesús de la Salud en su Prendimiento y María Santísima de la Amargura, known as the gypies' fraternity.
To end with this little report about the History of Ronda's Holy Week, we have to tell that, since 1990, are the Stations of the Cross organized with the images of Nuestro Señor Cautivo y Nuestra Señora de la Salud (our Lord Captive and the Virgen of the Health), belonging to the fraternities of las Angustias and Nuestro Señor Orando en el Huerto. (the Virgin of the Sufferings and Jesus' Prayer at the Orchard)
It's usually told that the famous writer Miguel de Cervantes (author of the world wide known "Don Quixote") visited oft Ronda, due to his work as Royal Tax Collector, coming from Seville, and that he had the chance of knowing and seeing the Ronda's fraternities of the Holy Funeral of the Christ's Cross.