Mojácar recently enjoyed its age-old ‘Día de la Vieja’ party, which is always held after Carnival time, on the nearest Thursday to the midpoint of Lent.
It consists of a day full of food and drinks in the town’s countryside, all shared with family and friends, with the idea of bidding farewell to the winter and welcoming springtime.
Everyone´s picnic contains a ‘Vieja’ which resembles an old woman and, is a small doll with a cloth head that is stuffed with hidden sweeties then placed on a wooden cross. Following an ancient tradition after the meal, the children impatiently wait for the time when they are finally allowed to break their ‘Vieja’ and find all the goodies.
Traditionally, it is also the day to eat the “Hornazo” (an elongated, sweet, braided bread enclosing a hard-boiled egg), although the party day is generally characterized by the abundance of all kinds of sweet and savoury foods that change with the times and people’s tastes.
The day of “La Vieja” is the only fiesta that is not represented by a Saint, but by a pagan figure, although it still has some Christian roots and, the date of celebration is engrained into the Christian calendar. Whatever its origin, the truth is that it has been celebrated ‘since forever’ and it is a custom that keeps going, generation after generation and, a time to look forward to some excitement and fun, especially for the little ones.
It is believed that the figure of the ‘Vieja’ personifies Doña Cuaresma who battles with Don Carnal at Carnival time and this special day is seen as some well deserved fun in the period of religious devotion and sobriety.