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17/10/2021

Facade of one of the last whitewashed houses in Mijas. The house is owned by the family of Juan Leiva Cuevas, alias ‘El Calero’ (The Lime Maker)

Reportajes

Master lime-makers, past & present

  • Activation of an ancient lime kiln

Mijas returns to the past to bring it back. The Enharetá collective, neighbours, former lime-makers and the Mijas Town Hall itself, have launched the activation

It is impossible to know exactly when lime was first discovered. According to the web portal lhoist.com, we would have to go back to the year 7,500 BC, when the ancient inhabitants of what is now Jordan managed to create a kind of plaster made with lime, used to cover walls, floors and stoves. As early as the 14th and 15th centuries in south-east England, craftsmen used to apply decorative lime pastes to the exteriors of buildings. Also during the Renaissance, lime was used in plastic arts and in painting. As regards its manufacture, currently the lime industry is provided with the best machinery to produce it. However, have you ever wondered how a town like Mijas, a benchmark in the production of this material in Andalusia, manufactured lime? Well, the answer can be found by taking a look at the history of our land. The ethnological group Enharetá, in its zeal to keep alive the customs and traditions - both tangible and not - typical of the culture of Mijas, as well as its trades, wanted to activate a small lime kiln so that future generations can learn about this trade and its characteristics, which for many years was an important part of our idiosyncrasy. After months trying to start the project, the group, in collaboration with residents of Mijas and the Local Council itself, lit the fire within this old lime kiln in Cuesta Borrego, between the rural areas of Valtocado and La Alquería. Due to the rain, the Cuesta Borrego lime kiln had to wait several weeks to be lit, which has now been done. “This is one more initiative promoted by the Enharetá ethnological group”, explained Huan Porrah, a member of the collective, “which consists of activating a lime kiln, using the ‘mijeño’ method, something that has not been done for a long time in Mijas”.

Institutional collaboration
The councillor for Historical Heritage, Laura Moreno (PSOE), was also present on May 8th during the lighting of the old lime kiln. “We have made ourselves available to Enharetá for whatever they need, whether it be firewood, fuel, or anything else”, stated Moreno.
According to the councillor, the department will help and collaborate with each and every one of the associations that work to recover local traditions, because, she assured, we must not forget where we come from. Moreno also wanted to state her “gratitude for the work the Enharetá Group is carrying out, reactivating all the traditions and culture of Mijas and also eternally thank the Leiva brothers for activating the lime kiln, because they are the ones who are teaching us about our traditions and how our elders lived”.

The work of the Enharetá Group

In addition to organising the activation of the lime kiln in the Cuesta Borrego area, the Enharetá collective also carries out other projects. Therefore, it defines itself as a group of “citizens for the study, defense and activation of the ethnological, historical and cultural heritage” of Mijas, according to the group. “This project”, commented one of the members of the group, Juan Alarcón, “is part of the activities of the group, with the aim of conserving the ethnographic heritage of Mijas”.
They also affirm that they are residents of Mijas concerned “about the future of local Andalusian culture in its different forms of heritage”, and therefore they decided to form this group so that globalization does not stain the image of Mijas and all its traditions and customs. “We not only conserve the tangible heritage, but also the wisdom and traditions” of Mijas, declared another Enharetá member, Huan Porrah. The group, they explain, is aimed at “enharetà la Miha de zuyo” (ancient linguistic dialect in Mijas. Miha-Mijas), that is, carrying out projects that promote the importance of the heritage elements that make the municipality what it is and what it was.
Enharetà, created as a research-action group, intends to use methods to study the ethnological heritage of Mijas, to ensure its defense and its activation through the real and symbolic use of culture. The ‘raison d’etre’ of the group lies in counteracting the separation with the recent past of Mijas, as stated by Enharetá members, and recovering ancient traditions and customs so that future generations can know, first-hand, about the identifying traits that endowed and presently endow the municipality with the cultural and social wealth that characterizes it so much.