Traditional Festivities

 

March - April

LOS PICAOS, SAN VICENTE DE LA SONSIERRA

Part of the processions on the Thursday and Friday of Easter week, los Picaos are anonymous people who, dressed in white and with their faces covered, flagellate their backs in a medieval rite of self-discipline. The processions are repeated in May and September.

 

May

PROCESSION OF THE 100 MAIDENS, STO. DOMINGO

On the third Sunday in May, the Virgen de la Hermedaña romeria takes place in Soriano. The route is covered by 100 maidens dressed in white and carrying posies of holly and white flowers to the hermitage.

 

FIESTAS DEL SANTO, SANTO DOMINGO DE LA CALZADA

10th-15th May. Declared of National Tourist Interest. May 12th is the Feast of St. Dominic, the day the “Saint's breakfast” takes place. This act commemorates this Saint who took care of pilgrims on the Way of St. James by giving them chick pea and mutton stew, bread and wine. These festivities are centred the Saint with ancient traditions and customs that stem from the miracles he performed. One noteworthy miracle is that of the hen that sang once cooked, and is the most widely known along the Way of St. James.

 

June

SAN BERNABE, LOGROÑO

On June 11th, the Cofradía del Pez gives out fried fish, bread and wine, in memory of the end of the French army's siege of the town on the same day in 1521 during which the defenders ate fish caught in the Ebro.

 

VUELTAS DE SAN JUAN, NÁJERA

Between 23rd and 30th June, Nájera celebrates the festivities of St. John and St. Peter, keeping the old tradition known as 'Las Vueltas' alive. On 24th June, after breakfast, the villagers dance around the bandstand for more than two hours without stopping in time with the music and singing popular songs. The 'Vueltas' are repeated on St. Peter's day, June 29th.

 

THE WINE BATTLE, HARO

Thousands of people come together around the hermitage of San Felices in Los Riscos de Biblio, on June 29th to take part in the international wine battle. It is an act in honour of Rioja wines, given that Haro is considered the wine centre par excellence. All kinds of recipients are used for hurling wine at the participants.

 

July

THE STILT DANCE, ANGUIANO

The stilt dance is a traditional festivity in Anguiano, la Rioja. 8 young people from the village, wearing 45cm. high stilts and wide robes launch themselves down a steep hill, while spinning all the time. (Source: wikipedia.org)

 

August

THE BREAD AND CHEESE, QUEL

On August 6th every year since the 15th century, people meet at the hermitage of Christ where, after celebrating Mass, they wait for the bread and cheese thrown down from the balcony by members of the Brotherhoods. This tradition commemorates a plague that blighted the area in 1479.

 

September

THEFT OF THE SAINTS, ARNEDO

The festivities that commemorate Saints Cosme and Damian take place on 27th September with a procession with images of the Saints, carried on the shoulder, and simulations of fights and races between people from Navarre and La Rioja. There is also a re-enactment of the theft of the Saints by the villagers of Andosilla, Navarre, part of an ancient dispute about the Saints' origins. A peaceful debate takes place finally, after which, among popular rejoicing, they postpone the attempt until the following year.

 

RIOJAN WINE HARVEST FESTIVITIES, SAN MATEO, LOGROÑO

These festivities last from 20th - 26th September. On the 21st, the Feast of St. Matthew, the first must of the harvest is offered to the Virgin of Valvanera, Patron Saint of La Rioja. It is also the gastronomy festival since there are many tastings of typical products from the area arranged by various organisations. These also play an important part in livening the festival atmosphere with their noisy charangas. Additionally, these days see the float parade, bull-runnings, bullfights, the Basque pelota fair, concerts, plays, fireworks and the tasting of 'zurracapote' in the 'chamizos', or typical thatched huts.

 

November

SMOKE PROCESSION, ARNEDILLO

This curious procession takes place for Saint Andrew on the Sunday nearest 30th November. It commemorates the lifting, by the Patron Saint of Plagues, of a cholera epidemic which blighted the village in the 19th century. Rosemary and juniper bonfires are lit along the narrow alleys near the church producing thick smoke through which groups carry an image of the Saint.