More than a thousand sheep and goats filled the streets of Madrid this Sunday in connection with the traditional Festival of Transhumance, which was canceled last year due to the covid-19 pandemic.
According to the agency Reuters, O Transhumance Festival, which has been going on since 1994, allows Spanish shepherds to use traditional routes to drive their herds from the north of the country to the southernmost pastures for winter pasture.
In the past, this path would have been taken through quiet countryside, but now it means shepherds and animals have to traverse the chaotic and bustling Spanish capital.
Speaking to the news agency, Miguel Gonzalez, who has been a pastor for many years, said proud of support this tradition. “We are recovering these routes, which are the paths that were used to transport cattle across Spain.”
“It is wonderful. I come every year and this was the first year I brought my children, so it was even better”, said Graciela Gonzalez.
In Madrid, sheep and goats walked to the sound of tinkling bells around their necks, and shepherds, dressed in traditional costumes, accompanied them with music and folk dancing. The festival had not taken place since 2019, having been canceled last year because of the covid-19 pandemic.
According to Euronews, the event claims the role of transhumance and extensive cattle raising as an instrument for the conservation of biodiversity and the fight against climate change.
Also, the festival serves also as a protest for the Spanish authorities to protect the 125,000 kilometers of paths used for the seasonal movement of cattle between different grazing areas across the country.