Actualizado: 17 sept 2019

Geografhical Data: Spain: Aragón, Castilla, País Vasco, Navarra, La Rioja and some areas from Andalucia.

In my province Córdoba: Some towns in the Pedroches region.

Some years ago, when I worked as a volunteer tour guide in a program call “Social Tourism for Senior from Córdoba”. I came in a contact with the Jota, because the people, dance it during the free time, and it was a surprise for me, because I didn’t know that it was dance in Córdoba. Then, I discover that it is a typical dance from “The Pedroches” area, and it is a curious thing, because the folklore in this area from Spain is Flamenco.

The JOTA is a traditional Spanish dance present across the country, especially in the North. It is a scenic representation with music, songs and dance. The principal instrument is the “castanets” that are played by the dancers. They wear the traditional costumes of their regions, and they are call “joteros y joteras”.

In my opinion, this dance is unknown in this area and the practice of this dance is decreasing because, in particular, this region is constituted by small cattle-raiser villages that in the last fifty years are losing population because this area is “stuck in time”, as, it is an area without industries, absence of good infrastructures and with bad communications. The young people don´t have a good future in this small town and they look for other economic or professional opportunities in the cities.

On the other hand, the people that live in these towns, have other enjoyments and they don´t have interest in this traditional form of entertainment, to make the matter worse, no one is teaching this art no more. The young people prefer to practice sports, play video games, go to the cinema in the city, and they think that this dance is not in “fashion” and is only relegates to retirees’ social activities.

Regarding the question, if it is possible to force people into following a particular tradition, in my opinion is that nobody can force a person to participate in this type of activities, but I think that it could be a good idea start a program with de local government to teach this dance in the public school system, starting from the elementary school, because the children of this age are very curious, like to learn and they don’t have prejudices. When the children know the meaning of the tradition and they learn it they began to respect and preserve it. In this case, the teacher could be some of the old people that kwon the dance and the songs. During the year could be great to organize meeting between the children and old people, where they could dance jota together and share another local customs, as food, games, etc. Also part of the program would be the possibility of the public performances in the official program at main venues of the major festivities.

About the question if we reached the end of the natural life cycle of these traditions, I think, in all honesty, that it’s a complex question. We know that throughout history humanity has lost many traditions and knowledge, sometimes due to the natural cycle of events, other times it has been hidden for years under imposition of totalitarian political systems, other times it had to adapt to new circumstances. In general, I think that traditional activities don’t have a unique behavior, but they are influenced by the politics, economics and cultural level of the society in which these activities belong.

Therefore if we decided that a tradition should be saved, I think that is very important to recognize the role of the community in this assignment, helping to create a common identity too. It is something that must be done among all.

To save the traditions we have to:

- Share with the society and in all levels (local, national, etc). Nowadays, we have many advanced media to show the cultural traditions in the world.

- Create school and teach the different traditions.

- Protect by international, national and local policies paired with economic aids.

- Organize events that generate economic income.

In this area, these measures have been practiced in other traditions and it has had a good result, for example in the production of olive wood chairs. Why not try it with the Jota?


Jota Serrana from Pozoblanco. Córdoba

Antón Castro. “El ruiseñor del Ebro: José Oto (1906-1961)”

#IntangibleHeritage #Unesco #Communities

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