The Festival of the Roscos of Olula del Rio in the program Gente de Andalucia of Canal Sur

The Festival of the Roscos of Olula del Rio in the program Gente de Andalucia of Canal Sur

The Canal Sur Radio Gente de Andalucia program directed by Pepe Da Rosa and Ana Carvajal interviewed the Mayor of Olula del Rio Antonio Martinez Pascual on the occasion of the festival of San Sebastian and San Ildefonso, highlighting the unique festival of the donuts that takes place in the town on January 20 and 23.

Listen to the interview of the Canal Sur program.


On the eve of the 20th and 23rd, the festivities of the patron saints of Olula del Río, San Sebastián and San Ildefonso are celebrated, a festival declared of National Tourist Interest in Andalusia in 1998.

The inhabitants of Olula are dedicated to collecting firewood and covering their facades since on the 19th and 22nd, during the night, the great fire festival begins, where residents, protected and covered with their bodies, dedicate themselves, in a tour mainly through the old part of the town, to launch thousands of wheelbarrows creating a ghostly appearance of gunpowder and fire.

Previously, fires have been lit at strategic points along the route, although currently each neighborhood organizes its own bonfires. Once the wheelbarrow pull is over, the food festival begins, since black pudding, chorizos, chops, potatoes are roasted on the embers of the fires and they drink until almost daylight.

On the 20th, the day of San Sebastián, it is commemorated with a very peculiar procession that begins with the departure of the Saints from the Old Church and, giving up their place to San Ildefonso, both Saints are processed through the streets of the town where donuts are thrown at them. and roscones from the balconies, windows and terraces where they pass.

These donuts are only made for this occasion, being a promise or tradition to throw them to the Saints. The crowd that accompanies the Saints tries to catch the donuts in the air and they keep them at their waists, where they have formed a kind of sack around their bodies. The same ritual is celebrated on the day of San Ildefonso. On the eve, wheelbarrows, and the next day the procession of the donuts. Only this time it is San Ildefonso who, out of courtesy, gives his place to San Sebastián.

The tradition of lighting bonfires and throwing wheelbarrows through the streets of the town was brought by the inhabitants, who, once the Moors were expelled, repopulated Olula, since these new settlers came mainly from the east, especially from the Communities of Valencia and Murcia. Therefore we could date this tradition around the year 1600.

San Sebastián has been the patron saint of Olula since 1568, when D. Juan de Austria, during the war he had with the Moors in his uprising and being a great devotee of him, established him as patron giving the town his protection.

The devotion to San Ildefonso begins from 1666. Throwing bread to said Saint is believed to come from promises of gratitude for the crops, or that the landowners of the town threw the donuts so that the townspeople could eat those days, since one of the characteristics of said donuts is that they they can eat even if a lot of time passes due to the composition of their mass.