La Candelera (English; Candlemas) is a Roman Catholic holiday celebrated on the 2nd of February to commemorate the purification of Mary and the presentation of Jesus in the temple of Jerusalem. The origins of the Christian holiday lie in an older Roman pagan ceremony called Juno Februa which occurred on the same date.
Traditional Catalan saying:
Si la Candalera plora, el fred és fora; Si la Candalera riu, el fred es viu
If the Candalera cries, the cold is out; If the Candelera laughs, the cold is alive.
This is generally interpreted as: If it rains on the 2nd of February then spring will arrive early. If it’s dry then there will be 6 more weeks of cold weather.
If Phil wakes up from hibernation on February 2nd and sees his shadow then spring will come early. If not there will be 6 more weeks of cold weather.
Groundhog Day arrived in the US with Dutch and German immigrants who brought the tradition with them from Europe. In Europe the animals which did the predicting were hedgehogs who hibernate at the end of autumn and wake up at the start of February.
La Fira de La Candelera: Molins de Rei
La Fira de La Candelera in Molins de Rei dates back to 1852 and was originally an agricultural fair. Over the years other industries have been added and the fair has grown into what is referred to as the fair of fairs.
For three days, the fair takes over the entire town centre. There are sections dedicated to agriculture, industry, commerce, handicrafts, food and wine.
What to do at La Fira de La Candelera
More than 900 stalls are arranged in different categories where you can purchase plants, trees, tools, soap, foodstuffs, wine, cheese, handicrafts, collectibles and art. There are also exhibitions of vintage and new vehicles as well farm machinery.
Different events take place during the three days including concerts, theatre, giants processions, castells (human towers), correfocs (fire runs), groups dancing La Sardana and brick laying competitions. There is also a small funfair for children.
Most visitors take a leisurely wander round the town looking at the stalls before heading to the wine and cava festival. If you’ve been to a beer festival then the format will be familiar. You purchase a commemorative wine glass and five tickets which you then trade in for wine at the stalls.
This year wines cost between one and three tickets per glass. There were plenty of decent wines to choose from in the one ticket category meaning that five tickets went a long way. There were also several one ticket vermouths available although I don’t think that I could handle 5 glasses of vermouth before lunch!
Next to the wine festival there are large tables set up where you can eat botifarras, paellas and La Coradella, a traditional stew which originates from Molins de Rei. There are also a few food trucks serving local and international food, some of which is suitable for vegetarians. Alternatively, you can bring your own food or purchase cheese, bread, fruit and fuet from the market stalls and have a picnic.
How to get to Molins de Rei
The most convenient way to get to Molins de Rei from Barcelona is by train.
On weekdays the R1 and R4 commuter train lines run direct from Barcelona to Molins de Rei. Journey time 20 minutes. Molins de Rei is in transport zone 2.
At the weekend The R1 terminates at L’Hospitalet de Llobregat so you should either catch the R4 or change trains from the R1 to the R4 at L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.
Turn right as you leave the station and you will see market stalls which are the start of the fair. Further along the road there is an information kiosk where they hand out leaflets with a map of the fair and the schedule of events. More information is available on the fair’s website.