Guest author: Darlene Foster ~ A Sleepless Night in Aledo

Spain is a fascinating country with many Fiestas, one for every week it seems. These colourful festivals are based on age-old traditions and legends. Some are quite unique. La Noche en Vela, the Sleepless Night, is held every August in the medieval village of Aledo, tucked high in the mountains. I decide I must check this one out.

A bus takes us through dense pine forests and climbs up the winding roads of the Sierra Espuña, in the province of Murcia, to a fortified hilltop town offering gorgeous vistas overlooking the valley. I am immediately transported to another time and place.

We wait in anticipation at the gates of the old town as only so many are allowed in at one time. Once inside the ancient walls, we wander up to the imposing castle tower and the cathedral of Santa Maria la Real in the town square. A pigeon rests on a sculpture above the cathedral door and watches as the usually quiet town fills with curious visitors. We watch a flamenco dancer and listen to a duo sing a soulful Spanish melody.

Also known as Candle Night, the streets of Aledo´s old town are lit by over four thousand candles. As the sun sets, the village takes on a supernatural glow. The citizens, many who have lived there for generations, proudly show off their candlelight displays. We are entertained with music, dancing and poetry readings. It is a magical evening.

The night wears on. Candles flicker on the castle walls, demons dance along the narrow streets and children sing. Spirits of the past, inhabitants from prehistoric times, as well as Romans, Moors, and Christian knights mingle with those of us in present times. I am mesmerized and don´t want the night to end.

The town has a rich history due to its strategic location and its role played in battles for supremacy between the Moors and Christian knights. The legend supposedly behind this festival is of a Princess who lived in the tower and fell in love with a soldier. Every night she waits for him to return from battle. He lights a candle upon his return to let her know he is alive. She stays up all night waiting to see the candle flame.

Whether this is true or not doesn’t matter. The ambience creates a feeling of being part of history, as I wander the intimate narrow streets that so many have trod before. I am so glad I came.

All the photographs in this post are courtesy of Darlene Foster.


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_mg_0158-edit-smAbout the author

Brought up on a ranch in southern Alberta, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world and meeting interesting people. She also believes everyone is capable of making their dreams come true. It’s no surprise that she’s now an award-winning author of children’s adventure books who divides her time between the west coast of Canada and Orihuela Costa, in Spain.


Click the titles or images to go to Amazon

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About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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28 Responses to Guest author: Darlene Foster ~ A Sleepless Night in Aledo

  1. Darlene says:

    Thanks for featuring my special night in Aledo.

    Like

  2. This looks so wonderful. I think I really must visit Spain, Darlene. The candle display is beautiful. Thanks for sharing, Sue.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jennie says:

    How wonderful!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Darlene says:

    Reblogged this on Darlene Foster's Blog and commented:
    I am a guest on Sue Vincent’s blog where I write about a fascinating fiesta I attended in a medieval village lit only by candles.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Teri Polen says:

    4K candles – I’d love to see that! Looks like a wonderful time, Darlene.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. A wonderful experience, I’m sure! Those masks would creep me out though, lol

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Old town streets lit by 4,000 candles must be fascinating to see! Thank you for sharing this with us!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. marianbeaman says:

    People in Aledo and YOU know how to celebrate, Darlene. I can’t imagine anything more romantic than lighted medieval architecture at night. And costumes too!

    Sue, thanks for featuring Darlene!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Annika Perry says:

    Sue, thank you for this guest post by Darlene! 😀

    Wow! Darlene, what a magical festival and I am mesmerised by your description of it! Like travelling back in time … I love the idea of 4,000 plus candles to light up the event (the Swede in me celebrating the notion, the part of having spent my life in the UK worries about health & safety!I) I hope the Princess got to see the lighted candle one night! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’d love to see the candle display, but not so sure about the devils! Great photos.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Your photo essay conveys the magic of that night beautifully.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. There is something about candle light – and any sweet light that shines n the dark night – that gives us hope. What a beautiful festival. I wish every country had one like this. I do love how in this country during December, many people have lit (electric or battery-operated) candles in their homes’ windows. Beacons of light that tell us – all will be well.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. What a great post Darlene….beautiful pics…I want to visit!!

    Liked by 2 people

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