The “Fiesta del Cascamorras” is celebrated in Baza and Guadix, Province of Granada, Spain, as a tradition of intangible heritage and attacting cultural tourism
The “Fiesta del Cascamorras” is celebrated in Baza & Guadix, at the north Granada Province at the beginning of September each year and has become a cultural tourism attraction.
This celebration symbolically re-enacts the 15th century dispute between Baza & Guadix regarding the ownership of the statue of the “Virgen de la Piedad” (Virgin of Pyty). There are several versions about its origin but the most popular says that a local from Guadix, accidentally discovered an image of the Virgin in an old church, with a mozarabic origin when he was working in Baza. This led to a conflict between the two towns. Finally the statue was given to Baza on the condition that it should be lent to Guadix for one day a year for the people there to venerate it. Since then, a local of Guadix, known as the Cascamorras, takes the statue to Baza on the 6th of September. He will only succeed in getting it back to his town if he and the statue remain clean and untainted. But his attempt is unsuccessful, as millions of people wait on the outskirts of Baza throwing ink at the Cascamorras and the statue, and accompany them to the church. During the following 2 days, the Cascamorras character participates in festivals and religious celebrations. Then on 9 September the Cascamorras returns to Guadix without fulfilling its intention and its once again stained in ink from top to toe by locals.
This intangible heritage event attracts increasing interest of active participants, as a cultural tourism product.
Human resources in valorising intangible heritage for development of cultural tourism attraction, as well as related products and services.
- International media coverage
- Social networks
- Stakeholder involvement (city councils)
- Package creation, food and accommodation.
Evidence of success
The “Fiesta del Cascamorras” was declared a celebration of International Tourist Interest in 2013.
Starting with a strategic diagnosis, and the consequent SWOT analysis, an action plan was developed and executed and just in one year, the number of participants in Guadix increased from 6000 to 12000.
There is continuing interest by visitors and the Diputacion de Granada Tourism Agency plans to apply for this event to be inscribed in the list UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Baza’s day is coincident with the start of their annual festival, and around 20000 people is traditionally involved, a number that matches their carrying capacity.
But in Guadix the number of participants has been traditionally around 6000 people, an opportunity to increase tourism activity there.
Potential for learning or transfer
For developing this sustainably, it was needed to identify correctly and work from the beginning with all the local stakeholders involved: city council, the Hermandad (promoter of the festival), tourist associations, local tourist offices, etc.
The “Fiesta del Cascamorras” was presented by the Provincial Tourist Board of Granada at the CHRISTA Project Thematic Workshop on 'Intangible Heritage deployment for Sustainable and Responsible Cultural Tourism Development', held in Guimaraes, Ave, PT, in September 2016. It has since formed the inspiration basis of including similar intangible heritage assets and traditions in the action plans by other CHRISTA project partners.
Further potential for transfer to and learning by other destination authorities is significant, in valorising intangible heritage assets and traditions for development and promotion of cultural tourism attractions. These assets could be candidates for inscription in the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.