The drawing of plots of land called Hazas de Suerte  among the Community of Neighbours of  Vejer de la Frontera takes place every four years, coinciding with leap years, on the morning of 22 December at San Francisco Theatre.

This event comprises the ritualised procedure for the drawing of a series of lots (hazas) of communal land that has been conducted since time immemorial according to an established protocol, first supported on the basis of customary law and since 1868 by means of a written regulation, which has been modified on numerous occasions to adapt it to social and economic realities.

The name Hazas de la Suerte is used to refer to the medieval farming lands belonging to the common people of Vejer de la Frontera, which are considered by law to be communal property and which historically have been raffled among the neighbours for their use, hence the name Hazas de Suerte (plots of luck).

Historical Notes

The draw has its origin in 1566 and was motivated by a legal ruling in favour of the people of Vejer in the lawsuits they had maintained for almost a quarter of a century with the Ducal House of Medina Sidonia, with the neighbour Juan Relinque playing an important role.

As a result of this sentence, the town council decided to distribute the communal lands and grazing lands, known as “echos”, among its neighbours. The most democratic way of doing this was by drawing lots, a formula that has been perpetuated to the present day. From 1588 onwards, the period that was to elapse between draws changed and began to be held every four years, a period of time that has also been maintained to the present day.

The administration of these lands is in the hands of the local Junta de Hazas  (Board of Plots), presided over by the mayor and made up of the elected councillors who make up the municipal corporation and representatives of different local social sectors, being the body in charge of preserving this cultural heritage.

Approximately 2 months before the draw, the composition of the Junta de Hazas is made, and 30 days before the draw, the people and families who have the right to a haza de suerte are published on boards, clearly visible to all the inhabitants of Vejer, in order to allow the relevant claims to be made.

On the eve of the draw, the so-called “embolado” takes place in a public act, where the numbered balls, both of the neighbours and of the hazas, are placed in their respective lottery drums. After the mayor has read out the claims, the balls are drawn by the cobijadas, who are chosen as “queens” during the town’s patron saint fiestas in August

The cobijada is an important part of the intangible heritage of the town. In the past, in certain villages in the province of Cádiz (mainly in Vejer de la Frontera), a woman used to cover part of her face with a black cloak, so that the only part of her body visible was one of her eyes. It is believed to be a tradition of Castilian origin, although the design of their dresses maintains certain Islamic reminiscences…

Hazas de Suerte. Candidatura UNESCO Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial de la Humanidad:

Sorteo de las Hazas de 2016. Photo: Excmo. Ayuntamiento de Vejer.

Sesión en el Ayuntamiento. Photo: Excmo. Ayuntamiento de Vejer.

Embolado y lacrado. Excmo. Photo: Ayuntamiento de Vejer.

Elaboración del Padrón. Photo: Excmo. Ayuntamiento de Vejer.

Monumento a La Cobijada. Vejer de la Frontera. Andalucía Turismo y Deporte.

Tierra y Mar & Espacio Protegido Canal Sur (2017). Hazas de la suerte de Vejer de la Frontera. [Video File].

BERNABÉ SALGUEIRO, Alberto. Vecindad y derechos comunales en la comarca de la Janda (Cádiz): Las hazas de suerte de Vejer de la Frontera y Barbate.. Ministerio de Cultura, 16/07/2006.