Night of the Pepitas, the story of Ferrol in view of "rondallas"


Ferrol dressed last night and did it as we imagined. "It is not necessary to go to the other side of the world to find incredible places, experiences or stories"We say many times but this time it was my turn, halfway between Sudan, Slovenia and Venice this year, to stop along the way and discover, just 30 minutes from home, the most important festival of Ferrol (next to Holy Week) which is declared as Festival of Tourist Interest in Galicia, TO Noite das Pepitas (or in Spanish "The Night of the Pepitas"). Do you know her I admit that I had never heard of her ... and maybe that's why writing these lines (and creating this video) is so important to me.

The fact of preparing a short video of the moment has been the perfect excuse to investigate the city and its tradition. The Party of the Nuggets wave Night of the Nuggets It is a centennial party that is still alive and that brings together many people in the naval city every year to celebrate the eve of San José.

The history and practical data of the "Noite das Pepitas" of Ferrol

Like Romeo declaring his love for Juliet, up on the balcony; like the prickly pears that declare the love of the lover with songs while the lover looks out the window; the rondallas sing and stroll through the streets of the center of Ferrol honoring the Ferrolan woman a century after its origins. A century?

Since 1902 it is celebrated in Ferrol a party that serves as a precedent to father's day today. And, like all things that have a long history and tradition, their origins are not very well defined. If you know the city of Ferrol (and if not a great opportunity to do it because there is much more than the event itself) you will surely relate it to the city. naval sector And this industry, although now with major economic problems, has been the livelihood of the city and its inhabitants for many years. One version says that the tradition of this party was born from the influences brought by Valencian and Andalusian workers who came to the shipyards and Arsenal de Ferrol and that they went out to sing to ferrolanas. But it also counts a more recognized version is that, as in the past it worked from sun to sun practically in the shipyards, there was almost no free time to "melt away" and only the eve of saint joseph to do it. Hence the name of "pepitas", of the Josefas, but whose tribute really is to all ferrolanas.

The party consists of a display of rondallas (Now we tell you what they are) that they sing and walk through the streets of the center of Ferrol singing to Pepitas, women called Pepa, Francisca and derivatives, but also to the rest of women who do not have that name.

When is it celebrated and why "Las Pepitas"?

Traditionally it was celebrated on the eve of March 19, since it was (and is) festive and it was taken advantage of that the next morning there was no need to go to work and he left with the guitars and other instruments to sing to the Pepas. Currently, the eve of the holiday is not always celebrated although this year does coincide with this day. Why is it called "Las Pepitas"? In addition to being in the prior to San José, because it was one of the most popular names in the city although, as we have said above, the tribute is really to all ferrolanas.

What are rondallas?

The name comes from "hovering" which means going around something or someone. A rondalla is a group which normally has stringed instruments such as the guitar, the lute or the sitar, very similar to these last two. Colloquially, rondallas are known as the group of people who play these instruments and sing as well. The members of the rondallas are called Rondallistas and they are dressed in black and white clothes, they wear a cape and on this is the most prominent and traditional element of their costumes: escape them. The escaparela is that ornament of colors that they carry by the layer and that serves as distinction of each rondalla.

Every rondalla has your own godmother that accompanies them and is who the songs are dedicated to and that is renewed from year to year, being the day of more nerves for the Rondallistas.

And after all this research and documentation about the party, we already feel ready to experience it in the first person. So ... are we going to the Fiesta de las Pepitas?

The Night of the Pepitas 2019, living the experience

In full 2019, the Fiesta de las Pepitas de Ferrol fights to continue being present in Ferrol and to call attention to the new generations and don't forget a party with 120 years of tradition. And although, for the first time in its history, the Trovadores de Ares rondalla will not be present due to lack of components, especially instrumentalists, the present cannot be better since again more than 300 people have taken to the streets in an afternoon-night that Ferrol considers, after his Holy Week, as his most important event of the year

These previous days, rondallas have already done acts in social premises and civic centers of neighborhoods of Ferrol like Canido or Santa Cecilia. This way you can generate more expectation before the party and extend this holiday a little more. Specifically on Wednesday, March 13, Bohemians, Cluc de Campo, Sounds of Alba and Añoranzas were cited in the Local Social de A.V. "O Cruceiro" Santa Icía and on Saturday March 16 the same at the Local Social de A.V. of Canido, Civic Center


- Yearnings (Ferrol) one of Ferrol's most historic rondallas. He has been singing and "hanging around" the nights of Pepitas since 1983 and is the benchmark of the city.
- Bohemians (Ferrol), following closely the trajectory of Añoranzas, the Rondalla de Bohemios, well known popularly, debuted on this magical night in 1989 and, since then, has done countless performances throughout Spain.
Sounds of the Dawn (Ferrol)
Rondalla do Country Club (Ferrol) has managed to make some of his own songs like "Nas onda do mar" or "Olliños de mel" become part of the popular songbook of Ferrol.
Morning Star (Neda), a rondalla chaired by a woman, Ángeles Díaz Castro, debuted in 1966 and in 1970 the first female voices joined her.
Rondalla Mugardesa (Mugardos) premieres this year the "First contest of ornaments of balconies and parties Pepitas 2019" (Ornaments of balconies and windows, in Spanish), which comes to say the mood and enthusiasm with which this party is lived in the neighboring areas of Ferrol.
Troubadours of Ares (Ares) that this year they will not be able to act due to lack of components. We will wait for you next year, with great strength and energy.

In addition, this year a tuna, the Trojans of Compostela and Asociación Antigos Tunos Compostelanos, have joined the party. How will it be integrated between the rondallas? We will know soon!

Thus, March 18, 2019, Paula, Oli and I (Isaac) got in the car and headed to Ferrol. Although we had researched a lot about this party and what we were going to see tonight, we did not know exactly what we were going to find or what to really expect from this night.


FROM CORUÑA OR SURROUNDINGS: If you come by road you have to take the N-651. If you come by the highway you will only have to follow the AP-9 until the end. There are no major complications just as there are
FROM SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA OR SURROUNDINGS: Optionally to the AP-9, take the N-550 to AC-542. The next step will be to take the N-VI and then you will only have to take the N-651 until the end.

You could say that the starting gun was at 5 pm at the Jofre Theater, which is very representative because it is a building with more than 120 years of history ...

After this first contact, the tour begins through the streets of the city center. The rondallas walk through Ferrol while they play and sing and go from balcony to balcony singing "to Pepitas".

People who come to see this part of the party walk through the center of the city behind the rondallas. It's a shocking moment because, in the middle of the crowd, you discover whate everybody knows the lyrics of the songs and sings along with the rondallas, which carry the main voice.

Each year two types of rondallas participate: those of Ferrol and those that come from the surrounding area. This year the ferrolanal rondallas They were Bohemians, Country Club, Sounds of Dawn and Yearnings. The outside rondallas they were Lucero del Alba, Rondalla Mugardesa; Troubadours of Ares, Rondalla de Cariño; Trojans of Compostela and the Antigos Tunos Compostelanos Association.


This year has not been possible but, it is expected that, from next year, one or some rondalla formed exclusively formed by women will participate in the Night of the Nuggets. This is expected as a novelty and it will be the Rondallistas who sing to the "pepitos".

Also, speaking of female rondallas, mention of rondalla is expected Santa Uxía de Mandía, founded in 1996 by Paula Fandiño. This woman, linked to music from a very young age, began with this rondalla on the occasion of the Galician Literature Day that same year and, since then, the rondalla has continued to grow and gained track record.

For two hours they walk through different routes through the streets of Ferrol, passing through the most important or outstanding, with a stop at the Town Hall included.

You could say that the end of this party took place in the Amboage Square at 8:00 p.m.where does a festival in which each rondalla interprets 3 pieces. And we say "you could say" because tradition says that, after this festival in which, by the way, the square is full of people, each rondalla accompanies its godmotherto his house and he sings a final song there as a farewell ... or even to the Parador where we are staying

And so ended this special and different day in which, through traditional music, we relive and remember a very sweet and beautiful story of Ferrol. We leave the Rondallistas, godmothers and popular songs behind with the excitement and excitement of this day still running through them. Now they start a new countdown ... until the 2020 Nuggets.

Extra plans to do in Ferrol during your visit

Taking advantage of your trip to this city to enjoy the Fiesta de las Pepitas, we also propose a series of plans to get to know a little more about Ferrol. It is not a very big city, but it has its charm. How about a little gastronomy, a tourist visit and a different and entertaining walk?

A walk through the Las Meninas neighborhood:This neighborhood is known in this way because, for several years now, a "show" of street art has been held attended by artists of different nationalities with the intention of showing their reinterpretations of the famous Meninas de Velázquez.
Drop by the Port of Curuxeiras and have a drink on one of its terraces:The port of Ferrol is an area with a very good atmosphere and that, if you also catch a sunny day, you will see how it unfolds its terraces to provide shelter for all those who want to drink while enjoying the views of the port.
Enjoy the ferrolan gastronomy:Proof that there were many Pepas is that there are even restaurants with this name. La Pepa It is a small restaurant that is located in the area of ​​La Cabana. Typical food of tapas ferrolano of very good quality and at a good price. However, if you feel like giving yourself a good tribute you may want more The canteen, which is located in the same area, whose specialty is grilled food: delicious! If you don't feel like traveling to La Cabana, the owners of this last recommendation recently opened a new restaurant in the center of Ferrol, next to the Canton: Maruxa house, also all grilled, fresh seafood and top quality meat.
Typical dessert of the celebration: the Bicos!A cocoa cake dessert filled with orange cream and covered in dark chocolate, more or less. Have you dropped the drool yet? Paula, Oli and I believe that we will have to walk a lot to counteract these bicos ... hehe

These are some of the plans you can do for Ferrol but, if you are left wanting more, you can always stop by to visit one of their famous beaches, for example, that they are a great tourist attraction, or go for a walk on Calle del Sol or Magdalena, with a lot of atmosphere especially on weekends and holidays.

Where to stay

If you come from afar or do not feel like making your way back home the same day there is a highly recommended option to spend the night in Ferrol. He Ferrol Hostel It is the Official Tourism Parador and is the best possible place to end a party like the one we have just told you. Located in the center of Ferrol, with panoramic views of the shipyard and near the port. The hotel restaurant also has outstanding service and quality, in case you feel like dining inside, withdrawing from the day and the hustle and bustle.

Never forget your story as it is an important part of your identity.

"Life is not what one lived, it is what one remembers and how one remembers it to tell it" said Gabriel García Márquez. Ferrol, a naval city par excellence, has its own and with it its own songbooks that come out every day before San José to the streets to remember it and whose challenge now is to be able to transmit it to the new generations, right?

Did you like this article about the Night of the Pepitas in Ferrol? Have you ever been to it? You can tell us what you think and your experience in the comments to share your stories with the Chavetas community.

Isaac, Paula and little Olivia, from the festive Ferrol