After the religious celebrations of Easter, Murcians let their hair down with a Spring festival (Fiestas de Primavera). Bando de la Huerta (‘proclamation of the countryside’) on the first Tuesday after Easter is just one of the days of this special week celebrating the countryside, its produce and people.
For 2017 the date to watch is Tuesday 18th April.
If there’s one fiesta that you should go to in Murcia (apart from your local village’s, of course), this is it. Simply eschewing shorts and tee shirts will not be enough to prevent you from standing out as the extranjero in this fiesta. About 90% of the people at the festival wear national dress, so take a camera! There are lots of stalls (barracas & peñas) where you might be lucky to get a sample of traditional local food and drink – alternatively, all the restaurants and bars will be open. The processions and entertainment start in mid afternoon and go on all night – have a good siesta beforehand and enjoy!
You’ll need to get hold of some national dress – there are lots of adverts for places selling it in the local Murcia press during the weeks leading up to the festival and many of the larger supermarkets do great deals on a full kit. Try and get a copy of the local newspaper (e.g. La Verdad) on the Monday before to get the running schedule for the day. We parked out on the East side of town (near the river) and walked the couple of kilometers into town – you don’t want to even try to get closer than this with your car. Also be very careful when leaving by car – you may be under the limit, but not many others will be! If you drive in about 3pm, you’ll find that the roads coming into town are eerily deserted – everybody’s getting some rest before the real partying.
To see a short video click play below. Surprisingly loud! I think there’s a theme developing here…
Last year we decided to go in national costume – here are the photos of our progress:
Step 1: Hair (and no make-up – my first mistake)
Hair should be in a bun at the back of your head, and you should wear flowers over your right ear. (Women can wear their hair this way too…)
Step 2: The tent (oops I mean skirt)
I bought a children’s size skirt (being on the short side I had no choice!) – I think I could fit all of the Von Trapp family singers and some nuns in mine!
On top of the skirt I had a pinny – made of black silk – nice. And a black shawl over my white blouse – Marcus called it my cape.
Step 3: The Legs
Very fetching long socks (I remember these from school and getting chapped legs in the winter!) – they come up a long way (especially on short legs). However, I was worried that they would slide down, so I safety pinned them to my knickers. Not a good plan, the socks still came down, along with the knickers.
Next time I’ll use gaffa tape (on my knickers).
The shoes are very practical too – NOT! I admit that once we’d had the photo taken we quickly changed into the traditional “nike” footwear.
Step 4: The Ensemble
Well, after 1 hour of messing about (I have about 6 safety pins, 3 brooches and 30 hair pins about my person) this was us – ready to go and party!
And here’s the party…
Bando de la Huerta – Planes doing flyover
Bando Socks later in the day!
After all that you’ve still got to bury a sardine on Saturday…