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  • ‘Luminarias’

    At nine o’clock in the evening on each April 30, after the ringing of bells, white smoke from burning rosemary flooded the streets of Fontanarejo, a small town in the province of Ciudad Real of just 450 inhabitants, which keeps alive centuries later the flame of tradition and the essence of their own history. Legend has it that during the Middle Ages the small enclave surrounded by mountains, on the sunny side of the Sierra de Valdeja, was rocked by an outbreak of plague when April had its last hours. Then, its inhabitants brought to the street rosemary to burn it and with the purifier smoke healed their souls and drove away evil spirits. Centuries later, the fontanarejeños remember the salvation of his people reminiscing the Luminarias. With the ringing of the bell of the parish church, located in the highest part of the town, each neighbour lights at the entrance to his house a blaze of rosemary. The smoke moves in just over forty minutes on each corner of the town, one of the 16 historical towns that make up the so-called Montes de Toledo. The locals, residents and arrivals to date, gather around the fire, they breathe and open their lungs to custom. The smoke blinded the streets of a town surrendered to their festivities. Watery eyes, laughter and smiles, the younger races trying to spread the embers, preparations for grilling the food of the earth ... the wineskin, ham, cheese ... the kindness of a cosy village. White smoke gives way to a clear night and the red warm light of the embers of a hundred Luminarias. Families, groups of friends, visitors and onlookers gather around the fire to enjoy a magical night, culminating in the procession of San Felipe and Santiago at dawn.