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Strange Fiestas Spain

Updated on June 20, 2014

La Fiesta de los Nanos en Cocentaina Spain

Cocentaina is a Valencian town inland towards Alcoy at the foot of the Sierra Mariola. This area has strong agricultural roots and celebrates this with a fiesta held on All Saints day(Todos los Santos) on and around the 1st of November.

In the Pueblo looms the Clarrisen monastery, the Palace of the count and the church of El salvador. These are stand alone in their magnificence but the real attractions of Cocentaina are the warm, welcoming and open minded people.

The Nanos first appeared in Cocentaina hanging from the corners of streets in the late eighteenth century with posters, the words and dolls were there to ridicule its political and prominent figures.

A risky act even though anonymous and surprisingly no retaliations were made to this day.

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Imagination and Criticism Combined

Venture into the old town in the middle of Lent (21 days after Ash Wednesday) and there you will see some strange satirical celebrations, life size rag dolls (Nanos) have appeared miraculously overnight and take up communal areas, corners of streets and along most of the houses. Some stand and some sit alone at a table with a bottle of wine, others huddle in groups and several hang from trees.

All share in common Valencian scribed tags, some large boards and others pinned to their clothes, the majority of the messages are pointing at famous celebrities and local politicians using imagination and criticism combined.

Now days the tradition is an event covered by the media and children are encouraged to take part yet this semi commercialisation doesn't distort the true purpose of the Nanos to get across the common man's feelings toward certain prominent figures. Some messages poke fun and some criticise individuals with caricatures included on the particular Nanos, from as simple as a mustache to a recognisable effigy and as from the beginning no reprisals are sort after, all are taking in fun.

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How to get there

Alcoy Spain

get directions

Man with a doll looking suspiciously like him

Dolls are placed everywhere

Dolls are placed everywhere
Dolls are placed everywhere

Woman with a doll looking suspiciously like her

La Fiesta de los Nanos en Cocentaina

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    • kabbalah lm profile image

      kabbalah lm 

      5 years ago

      Looks like a lot of crazy fun times

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      6 years ago

      Very fun.

    • GeekGirl1 profile image


      6 years ago

      Spain has a lot of interesting traditions.

    • JenwithMisty profile image

      Jen withFlash 

      6 years ago

      I thought this tradition looked a little spooky when I first started reading the lens but by the end, I think it looks pretty cool!! I'd love to see it for real.

    • Nithya Venkat profile image

      Nithya Venkat aka Vellur 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      Interesting fiestas. Enjoyed reading.


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