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What is the Cincomarzada and what is celebrated in Zaragoza on March 5?

After the covid-19 pandemic condemned one of the popular celebrations most beloved by Zaragozans in 2021, this year the Cincomarzada returns to the Tío Jorge Park in the city. This green lung on the left bank will host concerts, shows and gastronomic areas, both outdoors and in the Tío Jorge Civic Center, with the Federation of Neighborhoods and the clubs as promoters of an activity supported by the City Council. And what exactly is celebrated? There are fewer and fewer who are not clear about the concept, but remembering it is always interesting.

What is celebrated in the Cincomarzada

To begin with, it is a secular party; there are no saints or religious events behind it. It has to do with the Carlist wars in the first half of the 19th century and the road to the end of the absolutist monarchies. The supporters of the daughter of Fernando VII, who over the years would become Isabel II, defended the rights to the crown of the little girl against those of her uncle and brother of the king, Carlos María Isidro de Borbón. Fernando VII died in 1833, only three years after becoming a father, and Isabel’s mother, María Cristina, sought support from the Liberals to safeguard the rights of the little girl against Carlos.

The brother of the dead king, indeed, made a proclamation by which he did not recognize his niece as queen, and the First Carlist War immediately began, which would last until 1840. On March 5, 1838, Carlos’s troops arrived in the vicinity of Zaragoza, where Isabel was supported but there were supporters of Fernando VII’s brother in some areas, especially in the Magdalena neighborhood. The Carlist troops, under the command of Cabañero and with 2,300 men, tried to take the city by surprise, with nocturnality and treachery.

the thickness of the people of Zaragoza, awakened by the invasion, reacted strongly to support the Elizabethan militiamen who were trying to defend the city, and for a whole day there was internal combat at points such as the current Plaza de España or the Coso. At nightfall, and given that the people of Zaragoza did not give up their defense of the city, Cabañero ordered the withdrawal of his troops. From the following year, the City Council declared March 5 as a holiday, and the custom of going to have a picnic in the Macanaz grove and next to the mouth of the Gállego was taken.

Even though The festival had its interruptions due to the changes of government in the 19th century, since 1875 it was celebrated permanently until the years of the civil war. In 1937, the Francoist City Council prohibited it, and this prohibition was maintained until 1981, when the first Consistory elected in democracy reinstated it. Two years earlier, Cinco de Marzo street had recovered its name, which was Requeté Aragonés between 1937 and 1979.

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