Official Day of the Lizard of La Magdalena

The influence of one legend is so strong that a lizard has become one of most significant symbols of the city, being present even in its architecture (monument in the Magdalena neighborhood, on the emblem of the Cathedral of Jaén). And there are people who say that even the shape of the city is similar to that of a lizard. What do you think?

Map Jaen Capital
📍Jaén Capital

🦎Official day of the lizard of the Magdalena

These flyers were given to me by the IUVENTA organization and they include the program of the official day of the lizard of the Magdalena celebrated in 2019 and 2021.

The legend of the Magdalena Lizard was chosen as one of the ten treasures of Spain's Intangible Cultural Heritage on 2 July 2009, and since then this day was established as Magdalena Lizard Day.

The official day of the lizard of the Magdalena is celebrated from 30 June to 4 July in the name of the most famous legend of the capital of Jaén.

As you can notice on these beautifully made brochures is the program of the planned activities during these five days. Guided tours, theatre, music, storytelling, and a recreation of the Malena lizard are part of the cultural program for this celebration.

🦎The legend of the Lizard of the Magdalena of Jaén

This story tells that, many, many years ago, in the big water spring of Raudal, there lived a beast.

It was as big as the mountain, ugly as a curse, and even as fierce as a demon. That beast was called the Lizard and it ate those shepherdesses who came to fill their water pots.

The lizard ate one person a day and did this not only in the evening but also in the morning. The situation became unbearable at times, so no one wanted to go near its lair.

Once the Lizard's hunger began to get stronger, he decided to leave the cave and wander the streets of the beautiful neighborhood of La Magdalena (check the picture under the legend). It is then that a brave prisoner did not hesitate for a second to offer to the city authorities to kill the Lizard in exchange for his freedom. Aware of the difficulty of killing the evil creature by force, the town authorities decided to let him at least try.

He requested a horse, a long rope, a sheepskin, and several kilos of gunpowder. With the sheepskin he covered the gunpowder, making the animal appear to be bodily again. He tied the "sheep-bomb" to the long rope and placed it at the door of Magdalena's spring. The hungry lizard smelled the animal's scent. It was then that the prisoner climbed on horseback and pulling the other end of the rope began to simulate the movement of an oncoming sheep.

The lizard followed the sheep for several streets, leaving his neighborhood and entering the suburbs. The prisoner saw the ideal moment for the lizard to swallow the explosive morsel, as there were no houses or passers-by. The lizard eagerly devoured the sheep in the blink of an eye. The lizard had not even had time to close its mouth when the sheep exploded.

The prisoner won his freedom, and the people of Jaén returned without fear to fetch water from the Magdalena spring.

From then on, the expression "to burst like the lizard of the Magdalena" began to be used.