If you're a film lover, you've surely heard of the biznaga flower, one of the symbols of the city of Malaga. Along with the cenachero or the anchovy, the popular biznaga is one of the emblems of the people of Malaga. It even has special importance in the Spanish Film Festival held in the city.
In this post we tell you why the biznaga is so important for Malaga as well as some of its most important curiosities.
Biznaga malagueña meaning
The biznaga is not a flower that grows by itself. It is a composition of bouquets made with jasmine, placed one by one by means of a meticulous handcrafted elaboration.
The meaning of the biznaga comes from the Arabic period (Al-Andalus) and means "gift of God". In ancient times, the biznaga was used as an air freshener and mosquito repellent in summer. Nowadays its use is more for decoration than anything else, but the flower still has properties to repel insects.
The biznaga is a typical Malaga summer flower but, thanks to the good temperatures on the Costa del Sol, it can be seen all year round. Especially in summer, it is typical to see how the biznagueros sell biznagas in the streets of Malaga.
During the Malaga Fair, which is held in mid-August, it is a very popular sight to see biznagas all over the city. The popular Calle Larios is full of biznagueros trying to sell their aromatic bunches. There is no doubt, it is one of the great emblems of Malaga.
The biznaguero (this is how the traditional biznaga seller is known) is dressed in a very typical folk costume: white shirt, red sash and black trousers.
This biznaguero is also in charge of making the flower and carries his creations in a penca. All of them are typical symbols of Malaga.
For centuries, the job of biznaguero has always been one of the most popular trades in Malaga.. In fact, in the Pedro Luis Alonso Gardens there is a bronze statue in homage to this traditional trade of Malaga life.
The Malaga Biznaga, flower or plant?
As we have said, the biznaga is not a flower, not even the biznaga is a plant, but a handmade confection with jasmine flowers and nerdo stalk, a kind of thistle typical of summer.
To elaborate the composition, the nerdo is harvested in the month of May. This will be the support for the biznagas. Afterwards, the nerdo is left to dry in the sun and then immersed in water for eight hours; this softens the flower. After this step, the stems of the nerdo plant are cut and given the characteristic shape of the Malaga biznagas. Finally, the jasmine flowers are added to make the biznaga.
It is possible that reading the process of making the labiznagabiznaga you may have thought that it is an easy process but it requires a lot of practice and skill as the hole in the jasmine through which the stem of the nerdo must be inserted is really small.
To put you in the shoes of a biznaguero we leave you this nice video in which you will discover the whole process, from the collection of jasmine, through the most complicated phase of development to the process of selling in Calle Larios, Enjoy it!
There are many types of jasmine and the most commonly used for biznagas is the Royal Jasmine.
What are the golden and silver biznaga?
The biznaga is also the main protagonist of the popular Malaga Spanish Film Festival. Every year, the winners of the festival are awarded with a silver biznaga figurine made of biznaga made of silver.
For the festival's top prize, the one that goes to the best film of each edition, there's the prestigious Golden Biznaga. Also very important is the Silver Biznaga, the award for the second best film.
If you are coming to Malaga in the future or you are already here, it is very typical to take a souvenir in the shape of a biznaga. There are jewellery, fans, wooden figures, porcelain and all kinds of decorative objects in the shape of one of the great emblems of Malaga.
So now you know: a good swim at the beach, the unbeatable climate (more than 300 days of sunshine a year), a good grilled sardines and the aromatic biznagas... That's the best way to enjoy Malaga like a real local.
Curiosities of the typical flowers of Malaga
It is possible that you still have some doubts about the biznaga and to finish the post we will tell you the curiosities that have caught our attention. These curiosities were solved by a traditional biznaguero from Malaga.
- How long does it take to make a biznaga? It is possible that at the beginning, the elaboration period is about 15 minutes but over the years and with practice it takes an average of 4 or 5 minutes.
- How has Covid affected the biznaga business? As we have already mentioned, the biznaga is a seasonal product, so most of its sales are concentrated in the summer months. According to this biznaga seller, he normally sells around 7,000 biznagas per summer and this year he has sold around 2,500 biznagas.
- Is the biznaguero born or made? The most common is that it is a family tradition that passes from parents to children. The elaboration is a very familiar process since normally the members of the family get together in the living room of their home to elaborate biznagas.
- Can they only be bought on the street? No, in fact there are many biznagueros who not only sell them on the street but also accumulate most of the sales for events such as weddings, as the biznaga decorates many events, especially in summer.
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