The La Enramá has been declared a Fiesta of Regional Touristic Interest in Extremadura since 1996; at it is celebrated at Pinofranqueado during the last days of August, close to the day of Saint Bart. It a unique cultural expression of Extremadura, where the objective is to form couples, between men and women by drawing lots. The intent was to have residents constitute a family in this town of Las Hurdes. With the passing of time it has turned into a simple tradition of wanting to maintain alive an old customs, more than a ritual for matting. On the other hand, some successful couples have found their origin in this game, in spite of the staging of the tradition. In fact, La Ermaná is not only open to residents, but also allows participants from other places, interested in maintaining this ancestral tradition.
The Drawing of Lots marks the beginning of the Fiesta. This happens around the 20th of August at midnight from the tower, at Plaza Reina Vitoria (Queen Victoria Square). A very simple method is used; the name of the participants is place in two separate bags, one for the males and the other for the female participants. The “Cantaol” or Singer for the lasses will start by drawing a piece of paper from the bag with of name of one of the male participants, in a loud voice he will say “Con quien digo” (With Whom I say). The person in charged of the female participants will respond: “Con quien dire” (With who I will say), to make public the lot of the other person.
For two days as a formal fiancé at “La Enramá”
The public must approve the match assigned by lots. By screaming “bien va” (goes well) to the question “¿Va bien? “ (¿Do you agree?), if they are able to determine that there is no family ties between the couple. The presence of women is not recommended, at this public drawing. If any one of them decides to infringe the custom, she will be splashed with water. This is also part of the fun.
Up until Saturday the matches should behave as if they formally would be couples. The boy visits the girl in the house of the in-laws. He will, also, accompany the girl during the balls and other festivities of La Ermaná.
La Enramá is revived every year in Pinofranqueado a municipality in Spain with a population of about 1500 inhabitants. It is located in Las Hurdes, province of Cáceres in the North of Extremadura. By the rivers Los Angeles and the river Esperbán, offers beautiful sites and wonderful natural pools for bathing.
The arch, the most popular scene at La Enramá
The central activity of La Emaná is when the men leave the central plaza of Queen Victoria to fetch the women. Their ladies will receive them with wild flower corsages to place on their lapel. These corsages are properly called Enramá. Once all the houses have been visited, every one starts a parade to the church, to participate in the dance of the Arch. This is one of the most touching moments of the festivity.
Couples stand, holding hands, and forming an arch. Each couple must go through this human passage, while dancing the Jota of the Arch, at the rhythm of popular music. The dance will end when all the couples have gone around the church.
A general ovation, sangria, a street party, will be the grand finale of this event. They have created, also, children Enramá, to keep the tradition alive for future generations. It starts at the Center of Documentation and it is much shorter that the one for adults. Any child from the age of four can participate.
Pinofranqueado seasons La Enramá with delicious foods and drinks such as hot chocolate and Migas, which is a dish made with breadcrumbs, water, garlic and pimiento. There is a contest for the best decorated balcony, and the best corsage or enramá.
La enramá takes place at Pinofranqueado, in the heart of Las Hurdes, during the festivities of Saint Bart.
PlanVe, la guía de ocio del Norte de Extremadura
Original article by Pilar Armero
Translated by Susana Windt