The Andalusian Council of Tourism, an administrative participation body of a consultative and advisory nature of the Andalusian Regional Government, has approved the declaration of the Festivity of the Virgin of Fatima in Tíjola as being of Tourist Interest in Andalusia, as it meets the requirements for this tourism label. This was agreed at the last meeting of the Council, chaired by the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Arturo Bernal.
“With these declarations, it is clear that our region has an excellent tourism offer. The destination of Andalusia presents a variety of events and festivities that showcase the cultural essence of each of our municipalities. We are looking for visitors interested in everything that makes us unique, our roots, and these declarations serve to promote these events in the national and international market,” said Bernal.
The celebration of the procession of the Virgen de Fátima is a traditional, religious and cultural event that contains all the characteristic elements of Ethnographic Tourism, which aims to publicise the customs and artistic manifestations of the territory, highlighting the cultural heritage of the municipality of Tíjola and the region. On that day, Tíjola dresses up, its colourful streets serve as a carpet for the Virgin of Fátima to pass through.
The smell of sawdust, cut grass and gunpowder fills all the streets along the route, making it an event of artistic and religious interest. For days beforehand, the locals take charge of dividing up the tasks, preparing the materials, dyeing the sawdust, making flowers and paper decorations, lanterns, and ordering the bangers, wheels and rockets that announce the passing of the Virgin. And on the day of the fiesta itself, from first thing in the morning, the music and the conversations of the villagers ring out, announcing that the big day has arrived.
On the day of the celebration, the villagers eat together in the street, with a contribution from the Town Hall for the preparation of a rice dish. They also prepare the typical drink of the area, the cuerva, which is distributed and anyone who wants to taste it is invited to do so. Before the procession, a mass is held in honour of the Virgen de Fátima at the door of her small hermitage, located in Calle Baja San Cayetano, in the Barrio Alto, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the village. The procession passes through some of the oldest streets of Tíjola that make up the historic quarter.
The celebration of the procession of the Virgen de Fátima began in 1951 on the initiative of the curate Enrique Silva Ramírez, acquiring from that moment on a great devotion and popular veneration. The Virgin of Fatima means coexistence between neighbours, work, effort, popular tradition, passing from generation to generation for 70 years.
This celebration has a strong tradition and attracts the visit of hundreds of people, being a recipient mainly of provincial and national tourism. It consists of a singular procession that stands out for the colourful streets and the participative nature of the event. On the big day of the festivity, the local population dresses up in typical flamenco costumes and for a whole weekend, they decorate their streets with extensive carpets of coloured sawdust and altars of flowers for the procession of the Virgin.