Verdiales a tipical musical culture in Malaga Province

verdiales cinta de colores

The verdiales: a typical fandango from the province of Malaga

In this article you will find all the information you need to know about the Verdiales :
      • What are the verdiales?
      • The styles of verdiales
      • The members of a group (panda) of verdiales
      • Origins of the verdiales
    • Where to see verdiales?
          • During Holy Week at the hermitage of the Verdiales
          • During the Fiesta Mayor de Verdiales in Malaga
          • At the hermitage of the three 3 cruces
          • During the Malaga Fair
          • In Axarquia, Comares, El Borge and Benagalbon

What are the verdiales?

The verdiales are: a very old musical culture which is a real delight to discover; all the more so as this folklore mixes history, celebration, culture, music and dance.
The Fiesta de Verdiales is one of the most deeply rooted cultural expressions in Malaga.
It is a musical genre (fandango) unique to the province of Málaga and especially to the small regions (comarcas) of : Valle del Guadalhorce, Montes de Malaga, and Axarquia. The particularity of this musical and folkloric genre is that there are 3 different dance styles. These are the “Comares type”, the “Almogia type” and the “Montes type”.

The styles of this musical genre

The Almogía style

Special feature: it is the fastest of the three musical styles.

The Montes style

Special feature: this is the preferred style of the Malagueñas who like to dance it a lot and the tambourine has a much larger diameter than in the other styles.

The Comares style

Special feature: it is the richest musically speaking.
Below is a video of a panda de verdiales de Comares (the music starts a few seconds after the video starts):

The members of a group (panda) of verdiales

These groups – called pandas – are composed of :

– musicians :
    • a violin (only 3 strings of the violin are used)



    • guitars (which are worn “high”),



    • a tambourine,


    • cymbals,



    • castanets,



– singers, – dancers, – and the mayor (alcalde, who acts as conductor),

The mayor’s wand is made of an olive branch and coloured threads.
– a flag bearer (abanderao) who carries an Andalusian flag or a patron saint.

The member of a panda and the supporter of Verdiales is usually called fiestero or tonto,
For the latter, it is a nickname linked to the fact that the Fiesta Mayor de Verdiales traditionally takes place on 28 December, the feast of the Santos Inocentes (Holy Innocents). This nickname also comes from the fact that, during the shows given in the farms, the pandas de verdiales gave the money collected to their parish instead of keeping it for themselves!

A use that has now disappeared:

At the end of the year (around 28 December) the Verdial pandas would go from farm to farm performing and collecting money for their parish. It was customary to ring a sea conch with coloured ribbons to signal the arrival of the group at neighbouring farms.
conca – festival 2023 en Benagalbon

Origins of this folkloric genre

The word “verdiales” seems to derive its name from the province’s olive groves and in particular from the variety of olive grown in Axarquia: the verdial de Velez
This authentic tradition is in the process of being declared an asset of cultural and ethnological interest.
Here are the reasons:
    • Verdiales are the oldest floklore in Europe. After having thought for a long time that this fandango was just a little older than flamenco, it seems established today that the first origins of this fandango come from Crete almost 3000 years ago.
    • The use of hats with flowers and ribbons was found there and is still worn today

sombrero de verdiales

    • This musical style has evolved very little, it has retained its primitive nature and therefore all its authenticity
    • Unlike other Andalusian artistic events that have been denaturalised, the verdiales have continued to be passed down from father to son without interruption until today.

Where to see verdiales ?

The ermita de verdiales

Located in the Montes de Málaga. It was a parish church until the middle of the 20th century and is loved by all Verdiales fans, as it houses their patron saint, the Virgen de los Dolores. During Holy Week there is a procession to Ntra Sra de los Dolores on the first Sunday. In 2024, this incredible celebration will take place on Sunday 24 March. Below 3 videos of the 2022 procession to the hermitage of Verdiales

In the hermitage, there is even a dedicated area for fiesteros!
ermita de verdiales sala fiestero

Location of the Ermita de verdiales

The Fiesta Mayor de Verdiales in Malaga on 28 December, the day of the Holy Innocents

Below is the poster for this celebration on 28 December 2023 in Malaga.

This is the biggest verdial festival of the year. It brings together all types of verdiales. The festival takes place on 28 December each year, on the day of the Holy Innocents.
It takes place in Malaga in the Parque Jiménez Díaz in Puerto de la Torre. For the exact location in Malaga: see here
The party starts at 12 noon, and this year 25 verdial pandas will be present:
      • Almogía style
          • 12h00 RAÍCES DE ALMOGÍA
          • 12h20 LOS MORAS
          • 12h40 EL SEXMO
          • 13h00 EL CAPITÁN
          • 13h20 RAÍCES DE LOS MORAS
          • 13h40 COTO TRES HERMANAS
          • 14h00 DE ALMOGÍA
          • 14h20 SAN LORENZO MÁRTIR
      • 14h40 – 15h00 Entrega de premios

      • Comares style :
          • 15h00 RÁICES DE MÁLAGA
          • 15h20 ARROYO CONCA
          • 15h40 SAN ISIDRO DE PERIANA
          • 16h00 AXARQUÍA
          • 16h20 PRIMERA DE COMARES
      • 16h40 – 17h00 Entrega de premios

      • Montes style :
          • 17h20 SANTO PÍTAR
          • 17h40 LA TORRE
          • 18h00 MONTES DE GUADALMEDINA
          • 18h20 JOTRÓN Y LOMILLAS
          • 18h40 PRIMERA DE LOS MONTES
          • 19h00 BATANÁ
          • 19h20 EL MANANTIAL
          • 19h40 MOCLINEJO
          • 20h00 PRIMERA DE BENAGALBÓN
          • 20h20 MANOLO REINA
          • 20h40 SANTA CATALINA
      • 21h00 – 21h20 Entrega de premios

During this fiesta prizes are awarded for the best:
      • fiesta
      • couple dance
      • the braid dance
      • the flag dance
      • best singer
      • “Las Mellizas del Túnel” category best dancer under 12 years old

At the hermitage of las 3 cruces

It is a small hermitage located in the mountains of Álora, on the border of the municipalities of Almogîa, Álora and Cártama. It dates from the 18th century. This hermitage is a temple with three naves, each corresponding to one of its three parishes (the three municipalities). However, it has been joined by that of Pizarra. And today, four processions from these four municipalities meet in the “cruces de mayo” (crosses of May). Inside the hermitage, each village has a small altar.

The verdiales day at la ermita de las tres cruces will take place on 5 May 2024

Location of Ermita de las tres cruces

See a parade of verdial pandas during the Malaga Fair

Every day during the Malaga Fair, you can enjoy the spectacle of two verdial pandas in the Calle Larios.
Here’s how the El Manantial panda will pass through in 2023:

See Verdiales in Axarquia

In Axarquia, several villages have pandas de verdiales. This is a very lively folklore in several villages, which can be seen at many ferias and fiestas. Information can be found on the village pages below:
The most famous villages are (in these pages you will find a link to the festival of each of these villages) :

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