A tradition of music, song and dance believed to pre-date flamenco. The art is still very popular in Málaga province and its name comes from the green 'Verdial' olive that grows in the region.
Some sources maintain Verdiales dates back to pre-Roman times with the main fiestas coinciding with the summer and winter solstices.
Verdiales is reminiscent of English Morris dancing - there are even those who claim that 'Morris' is a derivation of 'Moorish'. Whatever the truth it cannot be denied that there are simililarities, particularly in the costumes: hats decorated with flowers; bells and ribbons adorning clothes and instruments.
The groups that perform Verdiales are called ´Pandas´ and they have a distinct style of performing that involves the singers and musicians huddling in a circle while the dancers perform outside the rest of the group.
There's a wealth of musical instruments: violin, lute (Comares style), guitar, cymbals and tambourines which gather tempo and volume as they are played, eventually drowning out the singers.
The Pandas rarely perform on stage but traditionally wander around the town streets like travelling minstrels, stopping along the way for another frenzied burst of music, song and dance.
There are three styles of Verdiales: Comares, Montes and Almogía. Each year there is fierce competition between their aficionados.
Comares is justifiably proud of its Panda de Verdiales groups and pays tribute to them in the Plaza de los Verdiales with its beautiful tiled mural, plaque and statue.
Each year, during the summer, there is a major festival of Verdiales held in The Plaza Balcón de La Axarquia in Comares.