Every year towards the end of April, the beautiful Alpujarran village of Almócita hosts a strange and curious spectacle. At dusk, all the street lights are switched off and the whole village is lit by candles, lamps & fires. There are numerous small candle-lit stages dotted about the village where you can watch performance art and musical activities, there are street entertainers, exhibitions and street vendors. The festival commemorates a period of “black out” during WW2.
Almócita is located in a hollow between the slopes of Sierra Nevada and the Gador and a little way on from the village of Padules. It has narrow, winding streets and is divided in three zones or “barrios”; the Flats or the Jewish quarter, the Espeñuelas and Secanillo of the virgin. Almócita is steeped in folkloric traditions not only because of the characteristics and cultural roots it shares with the Alpujarras, but also with an added touch of its own – determined by the essence of its people.
During the evening we were treated to the sounds of the local choir, Los Trés Caños, who’s mission is the interpretation and the revival of the oral folk tradition of the municipality. It was founded in 2006 and the first public performance came at the Festival of Traditional Music of the Alpujarra held in the same year. Their music has a very medieval feel to it and the instruments included are recorder, guitar, violin, mandolin, tambourine and various objects that are shaken, hit or scraped, including an empty anís bottle!
Throughout the evening of Noché de los Candiles, the wind was wild and strong and sadly prevented some of the more delicate candles from being lit. Instead, the fires and flares that could be lit were either constantly extinguished by the wind or hot burning embers were being blown all over the place – quite dangerous actually but it didn’t dampen the “spirit” of the evening!
Most of the photographs I took during the course of the evening were using a hand-held camera for which I had to set the ISO really high resulting in a lot of noise – some of the photographs I feel are enhanced by this but some, I’ve tried to reduce the noise using software. So, here is a slide-show of some of the photos, I’ve kept some of the fire photographs back as I might make a feature of these 🙂