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Thousands of sheep and goats marched in central Madrid

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TRASHUMANCIA celebrates the migration of livestock in the autumn from the northern parts of Spain to the south.

Thousands of sheep and goats marched in central Madrid yesterday. This unique annual holiday has come back to life after last year’s break due to the pandemic. The so-called TRASHUMANCIA marks the migration of livestock in the autumn from the northern parts of Spain to the south, where the winter climate is milder, and vice versa – in early summer to the northern regions of the country, where there is more moisture and grazing during the season.

This tradition in animal husbandry dates back to 600 years ago, and the road through Madrid is only one of the routes. The shepherds come on foot with their flocks from the north – this year they set off on September 25 from the mountains of Cantabria (over 300 km from Madrid), cross Mount Guadarama and settle in Casa de Campo to continue in a few days to the south.

Since 1994, this holiday has been celebrated here annually on the penultimate Sunday in October with the parade of thousands of sheep and goats through the city center, to the delight of young and old. In front of the municipality in Sibeles Square, the shepherds stop with their flocks to greet the mayor’s office, which has come out to meet them, and to pay 50 maravedis (medieval coin) for every thousand head of cattle that passed through the city – this was the fee once shepherds paid for the use of paths in the area, so – vignette fee.

The procession in Madrid is symbolic – to emphasize the importance of animal husbandry for Spain 6 centuries ago and today. In other words, a didactic show that creates an amazing atmosphere on this beautiful October Sunday.

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