JANUARY starts with the celebration of Los Reyes Magos, the arrival of the three wise men to visit the baby Jesus, with all of the towns in the Sierra holding their own Cabalgata cavalcade - when decorated floats circulate around the town bearing the three kings, an angel, the Virgin and Child. All of the main characters have their attendants whose sole task is to distribute boiled sweets to the following crowds, at, it has to be said, varying degrees of velocity and accuracy depending upon the age of the participants.

January also sees the majority of household matanzas taking place. This is the annual slaughter by village families of their Iberico pigs in order to cure the front (paletas) and back (jamones) legs and to make the wonderful fresh and cured sausages which have made this part of the world justly famous in gastronomic circles chorizo, morcilla, salchichon and morcon, to name but a few. As we mentioned these are private family affairs to which it would be a great honour to be invited. However a number of the butchering activities do take place in the streets around the village and great deal of the fascinating art can be seen. One village, La Nava, does conduct a public matanza which allows visitors to take in the whole of the processes involved.

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