The verdiales are an expression of popular culture of Málaga, whose origin is difficult to trace due to the lack of written documents. However, some authors, including José Manuel Caballero Bonald, note the presence of archaic and Moorish forms in the verdial.
In any case, verdiales are a style of singing and dancing that seem to predate flamenco. They differ from flamenco in terms of the accompaniment provided by numerous string and percussion instruments (violin, lute, guitar, cymbals and tambourine), indicating their Arabic influence, and because a verdial emphasises dancing over singing.
Verdiales festivals as a collective manifestation of the people date back to ancestral, pre-Roman times (according to Julio Caro Baroja in El Carnaval), as evidenced by the fact that the most important celebrations coincide with the winter solstice (Fiesta Mayor de Verdiales) or with the summer solstice (St John’s Eve).
The clothing of the group is that worn by farmers, and only differs from their attire with the introduction of a palm hat full of ornaments - mirrors, flowers, ribbons or beads to denote the ancestral origin of the party.
The verdiales reach their peak with the Fiesta Mayor de Verdiales, on December 28, Holy Innocents Day. On that day, groups meet in the neighbourhood of Puerto de la Torre, an enclave with close ties to this cultural event.
There are also other dates associated with the verdiales culture, such as Palm Sunday, when the shrine of the verdiales hosts another emblematic meeting of groups to coincide with the procession of the Virgen de los Dolores.