The Night of 10,000 Candles: Inside Pedraza’s La Noche de las Velas

Written by on August 4, 2015 in Blog, Destinations, Spain - 8 Comments

A look at the Night of 10,000 Candles in Pedraza, Spain, also known as La Noche de las Velas

The Spanish countryside unfolds before me, vibrant greens, golden hills and that blue twilight sky that forever sears itself into memory.

Holding a glass of chilled white wine in my hand, I lean against the ancient stone wall of Pedraza, taking it all in.

It’s July 4th, Independence Day. Only, I’m thousands of miles from the fireworks.

However, the walled medieval city of Pedraza has its own fire on this sultry summer evening.

My afternoon/evening tour with WineBus has made its last stop in this medieval city for a special event: La Noche de las Velas, a candle festival which only happens the first two Saturdays of July every year.Experiencing La Noche de las Velas (Night of Candles) in Pedraza, Spain. Only the first two Julys of every year, this medieval city turns off its lights and is illuminated by 10,000 candles.

 

Tonight, inside the castle an orchestra is set to perform. But, that’s not what sold me on this city. It was the 10,000 sparkling tea light candles dotting the stone walks, hanging from wrought iron bars, dangling from balconies.

Experiencing La Noche de las Velas (Night of Candles) in Pedraza, Spain. Only the first two Julys of every year, this medieval city turns off its lights and is illuminated by 10,000 candles.

This sleepy little village, with less than 500 inhabitants and only one entrance (which used to be closed at night, preventing anyone from entering or exiting the town barring an emergency), is alive tonight with Spaniards and tourists-in-the-know. We’re all here for the same thing — to witness the twinkling candles as they illuminate the town.

Experiencing La Noche de las Velas (Night of Candles) in Pedraza, Spain. Only the first two Julys of every year, this medieval city turns off its lights and is illuminated by 10,000 candles.

As night slowly falls (and super late, mind you, since the sunsets here don’t even start until well after 9 p.m.), Pedraza glows a gorgeous tungsten as the modern lights turn off.

Around us, people begin to make their way to the performance while my friend and I opt for simply wandering the centuries-old cobblestone streets. Tonight, for me, it is all about being in the moment.

Experiencing La Noche de las Velas (Night of Candles) in Pedraza, Spain. Only the first two Julys of every year, this medieval city turns off its lights and is illuminated by 10,000 candles.

For months, I have struggled with my inner dialog. The mind that just doesn’t know when to shut up. In an attempt to quiet my worst enemy, I started reading The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenmentwhich is all about being mindful and teaching readers how to be present versus in their heads.

Experiencing La Noche de las Velas (Night of Candles) in Pedraza, Spain. Only the first two Julys of every year, this medieval city turns off its lights and is illuminated by 10,000 candles.

And, this night, I truly begin to understand how it works.

Experiencing La Noche de las Velas (Night of Candles) in Pedraza, Spain. Only the first two Julys of every year, this medieval city turns off its lights and is illuminated by 10,000 candles.

The candles dotting the town pull me into the moment.

Experiencing La Noche de las Velas (Night of Candles) in Pedraza, Spain. Only the first two Julys of every year, this medieval city turns off its lights and is illuminated by 10,000 candles.

They awaken me. As their flames dance in the air, my mind is quiet.

Experiencing La Noche de las Velas (Night of Candles) in Pedraza, Spain. Only the first two Julys of every year, this medieval city turns off its lights and is illuminated by 10,000 candles.

A peace and stillness settles over me as I wander, simply taking in the beauty and serenity of the Spanish night.

Experiencing La Noche de las Velas (Night of Candles) in Pedraza, Spain. Only the first two Julys of every year, this medieval city turns off its lights and is illuminated by 10,000 candles.

When we depart and head back the 150km to Madrid, I stare out the window, wide-eyed. It’s well past midnight, but the countryside is lit up, too. This time, it’s courtesy of the full moon. It dances with us as we drive through the night, darting behind mountains and back out again, casting its full glow on the land below.

Where normally I would sit and look out the window, lost in my own thoughts, tonight, the only thing I think is how incredibly lucky I am. The light from the outside world, igniting the light inside me.

About the Author

Diana Edelman is an avid traveler who recently spent four years living as an expat. Most notably, Diana spent nearly three years in Chiang Mai, Thailand where she worked with Save Elephant Foundation to raise awareness about the realities of elephant tourism. Currently based in Las Vegas, Diana works in many industries as a publicist, social media expert, content creator and journalist. The founder of Vegans, Baby, you can normally find her hanging out at vegan restaurants around town, exploring the beauty of the desert southwest or camped out at a coffee shop banging on a keyboard. The co-founder of the Responsible Travel & Tourism Collective, Diana has spoken at conferences about travel blogging and responsible tourism.

8 Comments on " The Night of 10,000 Candles: Inside Pedraza’s La Noche de las Velas "

  1. Felix August 7, 2015 at 6:37 pm · Reply

    Never been there, but your photos and writing make it sound magical. I guess I’ll have to go see it with my own eyes next year. Thanks for the tip!

    • Diana August 9, 2015 at 8:31 am · Reply

      Of course! It is gorgeous. You will have to wait until July 2016 to go though!

  2. DeJavieur L Speller August 12, 2015 at 2:03 pm · Reply

    Never traveled there although been all over Spain. That’s pretty epic how they light the candles and full moon sure it just light the place up.

    • Diana August 12, 2015 at 7:11 pm · Reply

      It was spectacular!

  3. James August 23, 2015 at 11:55 pm · Reply

    What a special evening … you might have missed 4th of July fireworks, but those candles sounded like just as good a time!

    • Diana August 24, 2015 at 3:40 pm · Reply

      It was beautiful!

  4. ignacio Segovia August 31, 2015 at 12:49 pm · Reply

    Hi Diana.
    Wonderful post. Wonderful pictures. I love seing the activity through some other eyes and point of view. Thank you very much for writing about the experience: I expect to see you soon. Regards, Ignacio 🙂

    • Diana September 1, 2015 at 12:11 pm · Reply

      Thank you! 🙂

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