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Andalucia’s sense of community

February 27, 2012 – 2:32 pm

One of Andalucia's most famous buildings, and witness to its strong Moorish heritage: the Mezquita in Cordoba.

El Rocio, pilgrimage destination for millions every May.

Barrels in Bodegas Gonzalez Byass in Jerez - home of sherry.

Andalucians are prouder of their Andalucian-ness than any other people I’ve ever come across are proud of their own region.

And who can blame them? The history, the landscapes, the beaches, the food, the culture… Moors, Romans, Phoenicians; Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada, Ronda, the pueblos blancos; the Coto de Doñana, the Sierra de Cazorla, the Alpujarras; jamon de bellota, sherry, seafood; flamenco, Semana Santa, ferias and romerias. It has a host of geographical, natural and architectural delights, of which most regions would be happy with just one.

Amphitheatre at the Roman city of Italica, near Sevilla.

So you can understand why Andalucians love their home so much. Each person has a fierce loyalty to their town, with its traditions, fiestas and local legends. There is often rivalry between towns, to do with the quality of their olive oil, the beauty of their virgin, or the succulence and flavour of their jamon iberico.

This sense of loyalty and pride were new to me; coming from Essex – albeit a very pretty medieval village with a castle – I was unused to such strong feelings of local and regional community. For each town belongs to one of the eight provinces, so you’re from x town, in x province, in Andalucia (in Spain, but that’s a distant fourth).

Canos de la Meca, on Cadiz's Costa de la Luz.

Tomorrow, 28 February, is Andalucia Day (Dia de Andalucia), which commemorates the day when Andalucians voted in a referendum for their region to become “the autonomous community of Andalucia”- the clunky official title – on 28 February 1980.

Look out for green-and-white flags on balconies around the region tomorrow!

The pueblo blanco of Cortes de la Frontera.

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