#PartyMonthSpain: Fira d’Indians, Begur
*updated blog 27/08/18*
There’s something about Begur that sets it apart from other Costa Brava towns. It has a strong local community who live there year-round makes a difference of course to the general atmosphere, but there’s also that unmistakeable Caribbean air. What’s that all about I hear you ponder? Well, the Fira d’Indians, held over 3 days during the first weekend of September, is one of the highlights of the Costa Brava’s social and cultural calendar, and pays homage to the town’s Cuban roots.
The Fira came about as a celebration of a long-standing relationship between Begur and Cuba at the end of the 19th Century, after generations of sailors, merchants and traders went off to seek their fortunes on foreign shores. Those who were successful returned to build some of the region’s most stylishly whimsical mansions and villas, and the town that built up around them (previously it was a tiny fishing village) has remained blessedly free of the mindless development of other parts of the Costa Brava ever since. It’s as lovely as it is richly atmospheric and never more so than during the Fira when the streets are stylishly decorated and the streets fill with the sound of salsa and rumba, the plazas with dancing, and street stands sell an intriguing fusion of Catalan-Cuban fare.
“The festival gets bigger and better every year and it is well worth the trip. Unrecognisable from the rest of the year, the entire town gets behind the event with everyone dressing in white and visitors coming from far and wide to fully immerses themselves in the Cuban spirit – metaphorically and literally if you are a lover of mojitos. Be prepared for crowds and be prepared to party until the early hours. If you are staying close to the town centre, don’t expect to get much sleep!”
— Tom Maidment, Partner Lucas Fox Costa Brava
If you choose to use the festivities as a chance for a snoop around the historic properties, many of which are open to the public during the festival – the Hotel Aiguablava and the restaurant Can Torrades have both done a respectful job of conserving their heritage.
Historically Begur was dirt poor, and the reason so many left in the mid 1800s was in the hope of a better life across the sea. Those who made it rich, mostly in the tobacco trade, returned to the motherland and built these lavish testaments to their newly amassed fortunes. Coined Casas Indianas (Indian Houses) they were richly decorated with murals, balustraded galleries overlooking manicured gardens and entrance halls resplendent with columns and painted wood.
Because of their heritage value the vast majority of these properties are handed down through families generation by generation, but there are exceptions such as this stunning renovation project in the heart of Begur.
For more information about the Fira d’Indians and a full schedule of events see http://visitbegur.cat/fira-indians/