Our Culturebarra


4.000 years ago, in the Bronze Age, was held in La Mancha a unique culture, the culture of the hills and “motillas”, of which there are many settlements in wetlands and mountains. Much later, flourished here the Iberian culture (VI-I Cent. bC), originally heavily influenced by the peoples of Eastern Mediterranean, Greeks and Carthaginians. After the Punic Wars and the conquest of Hispania by Rome, we became part of the Roman Empire and one of its most prosperous provinces, until the V cent. AC, when came here the Germanic peoples, specifically the Visigoths, to make way for the Arab invasion, people who spent more than five centuries in lands of La Mancha, leaving a deep imprint on the language, food and place names. After the Reconquest, these lands were incorporated into the Christian kingdom of Castile.

All these civilizations and cultures that have passed through the Iberian Peninsula have formed a cultural substrate that has its roots thousands of years in history.

Until the 50 and 60, most of the population lived in towns and villages, following the agricultural lifestyle that remained in force for centuries. The mechanization of field work resulted in the loss for much of the peasants and muleteers who had to migrate to big cities like Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona to work and even abroad. The improvement of living conditions from the 60's and social changes have also been translated in a depopulation of rural areas, specially in the mountain areas are a very aged population.

As in other Mediterranean regions, in La Mancha is very important the family, maintaining close ties between. Coexistence is very important. The bars are the center of social life in rural areas. Crowded places and noisy, usually speaks quite high and drunk slowly. It is usual to drink wine or beer, usually with a "tapa", the olives are very common. Strong drink is left for after the meal. Getting drunk is considered an error. Until recently, it was unusual for women entering the bars, is now commonplace.

Men greet each other, in general, giving strong hand, if they are close family, sometimes with two kisses. Between two women, when presented, are often given a kiss on each cheek, Like when they greet a man and a woman known. In more formal circumstances, when we have a woman, shakes hands loosely.

Agricultural work set the pace of country life, vintage wine areas or olive harvest. Until the mechanization of the field, harvest the grain and the work is time consuming for farmers. The most important livestock is sheep, and there is even a race itself, the Manchego sheep. In the houses of the villages, women often keep a few hens to provide eggs for the house. It is also common consumption of rabbit meat and are appreciated snails, mushrooms and wild asparagus.

A very important tradition is the killing of the pig. Each family fatter one or more pigs to sacrificed at the beginning of winter to make sausages and hams. The same killing is a family celebration and conviviality, with rites and local dishes.

In summer people live in the street. After lunch (about 2-3 PM), the intense heat advisable to take a nap (siesta) and rest until evening, when the streets come to life again. In villages it is customary to leave "to take the air" on the street during summer evenings, sharing conversation and refreshments with neighbors and family. People go to bed very late. It is not unusual dinner at 10 or 11 at night. The festivities are more common in summer, are very common outdoor dances (verbenas) and in the Sierra de Segura and Alcaraz are common “encierrosĀ· (running ahead the bulls).

Important Dates in the holiday calendar are:
Three Kings (January 6). They leave gifts to children
Candlemas (2 February). Bonfires are made in many localities
Easter. Processions are religious images and gastronomy is maintained.
San Isidro (May 15). Important agricultural festival in rural areas
St. John (June 24). Bonfires and torchlight processions
In August, there are parties almost every town
Saints Day (November 1). On this day we will visit the cemeteries.
Christmas Eve (December 24)
Christmas (December 25)
New Year's Eve (December 31). The year is off with a great dinner and eating 12 grapes