“Las Carreritas” festival commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus. It takes place on Easter Sunday in the Plaza Mayor. It represents the encounter between the float of Our Lady of Bethlehem and that of the Resurrected Jesus. Both floats run through the Plaza Mayor -hence the name “Carrerita”, which in Spanish means “little race”- amidst popular rejoicing.
This festival is the crowning touch to Pilas’ Easter Week (with processions on Palm Sunday, as well as Tuesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday). This is one of the most deeply rooted traditions in Pilas and was declared in 1998 an Andalusian Festival of National Tourist Interest.
It is a symbolic encounter or embrace between Our Lady of Bethlehem, the patron saint of Pilas (Confraternity of the True Cross) and the Resurrected Christ represented as the Child-God (Confraternity of the Solitude). The image of the Sweet Name of Jesus, or “Child-God of the Carreritas”, is attributed to the studio of Martínez Montañés.
The images meet each other in the Plaza Mayor, crowded with ‘pileños’ and ‘pileñas’ (natives of Pilas) since early morning. The floats perform several “races”, carried on the shoulders of young and old people who have previously placed a bid to do so.
The itinerary of the images from their temple to the Plaza Mayor is enlivened with Easter music bands and sharing of the traditional sweets called “garrapiñas”.
A mass is celebrated in the parish church once the “races” are over. The image of Our Lady of Bethlehem is taken to her shrine in glorious procession in the afternoon. Before that, there is an auction of carnations outside the church, and fireworks are set off.