The feast day of Saint Antony (San Anton in Spanish), is a popular festival in the Spanish white village of Mijas. Held on the 17th January it is beloved by animal lovers and local women looking for love.
Dating – the San Anton Way
The feast day of Saint Anthony, was the Middle Age equivalent of internet dating in Mijas village. The chances of success were as hit and miss as many of the .com dating approaches of today, though perhaps a little more random.
The unmarried women of the area, armed with 3 stones collected locally, advanced on the hermitage of Saint Anthony. Warming up their throwing arms, they would then proceed to lob their missiles at the statue of the saint. The girl lucky enough to catch the unfortunate statue in the nether regions would find a boyfriend that year. If cricket had been around in 15th century Mijas, the village would have been able to field a formidable women’s team!
The origin of the tradition is lost in time but continues to this day, though a replica statue is used to avoid any mishaps. How accurate this method of acquiring a mate is, is also unknown.
With several CLC World Spanish resorts only a stone’s throw away from Mijas Pueblo, it’s definitely worth popping up to the village to see how accurate the aim of Mijasʼ women is!
Blessing of the Animals
Saint Anthony is also the patron saint of animals and when the coast is clear of rock wielding young ladies, villagers lead their animals to the hermitage to be blessed on his feast day. This is followed by music and dancing and visitors can sample the San Antón callos (stew), sugar cane and palmetto (palm fruit).
Where it Takes Place
The hermitage has a long history; the current building is a rebuild of the 18th century version, which in turn was built next to the ruins of an earlier hermitage. Located between the two Osunillas, Alta and Baja, in the hillside above the village of Mijas it remains a popular place of pilgrimage – the destination for many romerías and verbenas, as well as for walkers. The breathtaking views from the chapel make the ascent worth the effort, as you can scan the village below and on clear days make out the distant mountains of Morocco.
If you’re enjoying the mild January weather at CLC Club La Costa World, why not take a trip to Mijas Pueblo and join in the festivities – rock throwing and animal blessing not obligatory!
Hermitage Opening Hours: Sunday afternoons, Feast of St Antón (January 17, 10am) and the Osunillas Romeria and Verbana in June.>