The Frigiliana annual fair is held in honour of the town’s patron saint, Saint Anthony of Padua, whose fiestafalls on 13th June. Every year the beginning is announced by a salvo of rockets and the flourish of reveille, and heralds the start of five days, each with a different set of attractions and competitions.
The “starting gun” of every feria is the gala to elect the Feria Queen, which triggers the activities, concerts and other events which take place, day and night for the whole five days. Day after day, the arrival of evening sees the start of the din of sirens and horns combining with the thunder of sound systems, and the highly amplified bellowing of the showmen, which continues until midnight when it gives way to tdancing and concert, the most important taking place in the official marquee or caseta.
Special mention must be made of the running of the bulls, challenged along the way by young men, early in the morning of the Sunday.
The encierro, as it is called, can be traced back at least to the 1980s, but its popularity has gathered pace in recent years, now attracting crowds of more than two thousand people from all parts of the Axarquía, to enjoy the spectacle of these taurine arts.
June 13th is the focal day of the feria, being the festival of St Anthony of Padua. It is celebrated with a romería(a blend of pilgrimage and picnic), in which veveryone goes in procession behind the statue of the saint, mounted on a flower-decked oxcart, from the church, all around the village and then down into the gorge of the River Higuerón to a site known as The Old Well, where the day is then spent, eating, drinking and taking part in competitions and other activities.
This tradition, which commemorates the victory of the Christians over the Moriscos at the Battle of Frigliana, is an opportunity for the people of the village and visitors to join together in the shade of the pine trees to enjoy a leisurely lunch.
The normal rule is that the 13th June is the last day of the Feria, and concludes with a spectacular firework display, but on some occasions, when it falls early in the week, it takes place as the opening event of the Feria.