Legends surrounding Murcia
Just like any other place, Murcia has its legends for explaining its history through mystery and excitement.
I have chosen 10 of them which talk about the culture and traditions of Murcia:
The bad luck striking Teatro Romea
The area where the present Teatro Romea is found was in fact a cemetery in the middle of the 19th Century, belonging to the monks of Santo Domingo. When they got expropriated, you can imagine that what they felt was anything but joy and launched a prophecy which said that the theatre will burn 3 times. In the first fire no one is to die, in the second fire a person is to die, while the third time was to say that no one will survive it.
No one paid attention to this prophecy in the beginning, yet in 1877 the first fire was produced and as predicted, no one was hurt. The second fire came quite soon after and in 1899 a person falls as a victim of the fire. Now people started to get scared and take the prophecy more serious. As the third fire was not occurred yet and given the curse thrown by the monks over the place, the events happening now in Romea are never sold out: there are always at least 1-2 seats empty that are not being sold.
The chain from the Vélez chapel
A beggar, who in fact was an artist, carved the chain of the chapel that its beauty exceeded whatever it was seen before. When the Marques of Vélez saw it, blinded by his selfishness and jealousy that someone else could have such an exceptional piece of art in their collection, decided to take out the eyes of the beggar and cut off his hands.
The legend tells that whoever touches the chain with the hands will see how the fingers will fall down from the hand like ripe fruits falling from the trees.
The legend of the bell boy
This story brings upfront a young man who brought his parents upside down as he didn’t like to work and was spending all his day from a tavern to another. Desperate and scared for the future of the boy, the parents took him to a convent where, besides the sufferance of seeing himself expelled, he learned the art of adulation.
As he learned it so well, the monks gave him the role of the bell boy in the cathedral of Murcia. However, soon after the young man turned back to his old habits spending the days sleeping after the drunkenness he was taking at nights so the bells were no longer ringing.
As drunk he was one day, he went to ring the bells yet without realizing it, one of the bells caught him and threw him through the air outside the bell tower to a nearby house’s roof. When people saw it they thought it was the devil despite the man giving explanations afterwards of what have happened.
Since then, Murcia has a saying that “el vino más bueno, para el que no sabe mearlo, es veneno”, which is the best wines, for those who don’t know how to piss it, is poison.
The blue blood and the fireproof heart
The King Alfonso X el Sabio (Alfonso the 10th The Wise)mentioned in his will that his heart to be buried in Murcia as a symbol of love that he was feeling for these lands. It was deposited in 1284, upon his death, in an urn in the chapel from the left side of the great altar of the Murcia Cathedral. In 1547 a fence was put to protect the urn however a fire devoured a great part of the temple’s inside with high consequence losses. Despite this fact, the King’s chapel only suffered a casting of the grate that was protecting the urn and the heart remained intact.
The origins of Fuensanta’s name
In the Visigoth and Roman times there were some groups that populated the area that nowadays is known as “La Fuensanta”. The area has a lot of fuentes (fountains) giving crystal water, among which a medicinal water which got the name of la fuente santa (the saint fountain). Its curative properties were so popular that many started to pilgrim to there. The bishop ordered the erection of a small hermitage of a virgin at the foot of the fountain, which now is known as the Virgin from Fuensanta.
The loss of the patronage of La Arrixaca
Since we mentioned Fuensanta, let’s see another one. In 1640 Murcia was hit by a severe drought. The Augustin priests were asked to take out the patron of Murcia, the Virgin of Arrixaca, to attract the rain, yet they refused. Instead the Virgin of Fuensanta was taken out and shortly after it started to rain. Years after, with the Murcians divided between the 2 Virgins, the one of Arrixaca was taken to the cathedral for the prayer for rain. This did not happen though but for the surprise of the locals when they turned to the other one, it started raining and snowing heavily. Since then, Fuensana became the favourite of the Murcians and a sanctuary was erected for her.
The Virgin of the Danger and the Old Bridge
The first bridge that united the two banks of Segura River in Murcia was destroyed by a strong stream in 1701. A new wooden bridge was rebuilt instead yet the Murcians were afraid to pass it due to its instability. When the kingdom’s economy was flourishing, a mural was placed with the painted image of the Virgin of Sopetrán, which was highly admired at that point for the quantity of miracles she was doing.
In this way the locals started to cross the bridge under the protection of the Virgin who was there to protect them from any danger. The bridge was renamed as The Bridge of the Dangers, a name that is still kept today.
“Kill the king and go to Murcia”
The well known phrase in Spain is in fact a privilege of the Murcian Kingdom from 1262. Andalusia was occupied by Arabs and they barely could defend themselves without losing their lives and the Murcian Kingdom was bordering it. It was impossible to recruit soldiers or hire mercenaries so the decision was taken to offer protection in Murcia to criminals who committed crimes in other kingdoms. “Mata al rey y vete a Murcia”, which is to kill the kind and go to Murcia was the way Murcians were trying to protect their people from the cruelty of the Arabs occupying their lands.
The origin of the Thursday’s market
The street of Fama fills itself with street vendors of clothes, fruits, vegetable and meat every Thursday with few exceptions. This tradition lasts from centuries, dating back to 1266 when the King Alfonso X el Sabio granted Murcia with the privilege to have weekly markets for “those who are the richest and the most abandoned ones of Murcians”, thus for everyone.
The feminist monarch
Alfonso X el Sabio was way ahead of his time and was worried about the women’s right in the Kingdom of Murcia. At that time, when getting married the women were losing the goods they contributed to the marriage in the favour of the husband, who was to become the sole owner of all of it. The kind endowed the city with the most modern privileges which were specifying that the matrimonial property belonged to both husband and wife.
When the women were asking judges to assert their community rights they were always loosing to their husbands. The king arranged for the women to take part in the property of their husbands since “sometimes everything that a marriage has or gets is from the women”.
Here we have other 3 quite controversy so let’s see:
The gallows of the Murcian Perl in Ronda de Garay
In 1893 Josefa Gómez was executed for having poisoned her husband and their 13-years-old daughter as the suggestion of a customer from the guesthouse to stop the jealousy of her husband. Regretting her act, Josefa was telling that she didn’t want to kill anyone, but even so despite the repeated requests of forgiveness, she was executed. Since that day it is said that every year, on 29th October you can hear Josefa in Ronda de Garay regretting her end.
The charmed house of Santa Eulalia
A murder occurred in this house as a result of adultery that one of the Saavedra brothers could not forgive and that was punished with the worst punishment possible. The noble lady, as the legend says, still appears every midnight on the rooftops of Plaza de Santa Eulalia with profound whining that doesn’t let the neighbours sleep.
The corpses from San Agustín
On a hot morning of 1896, several masons were making conservation works in the church of San Agustín. At a certain point they discovered a terrible fact: 2 people inside the wall in a mummified state. This was just the beginning as further they found 11 bodies, 7 of which were of children aged between 1 and 4.
Some said this was the result of a curse that hogged the city of Murcia, while others believe to be bodies of saints that previously lived here. Despite the reason why they were there, the researches found no explanation for the high conservation degree as they were kept almost intact, a thing which was not normal since the depicted bodies were belonging to humble people with no financial possibilities to embalm the bodies.
The event was slowly forgotten yet even today, many people claim to hear strange voices and children crying near the convent of San Agustín.