Monday, September 01, 2014

Visiting a traditional market at Porrua de Llanes

Once a year in a small village not too far from home is one of the most interesting fiestas in our area; Mercau Tradicianal. The market runs for two days, usually over the last weekend in August thereby making the most of the holiday makers who flock to Asturias in the month of August. The fair has only been running since the early 1990s but it has the feel of something with more history. It is loosely billed as a celebration of life before the industrial revolution.

The market takes place in the small village of Porrua which has a central park that has a well kept circle of entangled and grafted plane trees which form shade and a retreat from the mid-day sun. Around the outside is a wide circular walkway.

By the time we had arrived the streets were filling with visitors and participants alike who all congregated at the local bar 'Casino de Porrua'. This is where the opening parade starts from, making its way through the narrow village streets eventually reaching the park and the hoards of awaiting visitors.

As we made our way down, we could smell the wood-smoke from the huge barbecue which was heating up its embers ready for the onslaught of ravenous visitors eager for ribs and sausage. The streets were carpeted in a thin layer of golden straw and many people were dressed in traditional costume.

The outer walk-way was filled with stalls selling artisan products ranging from carved wood, leather work, book binding, jewelry, pottery, hand-made shoes, puppets and potions. The barbecue area included demonstrations of bell making, a re-enactment of a traditional Asturian kitchen and ladies spinning yarn from wool and flax.

Underneath the plane trees were many stalls selling food and drink. Cheeses from the region, artisan breads and cakes, snacks of tortilla, corn pancakes with meat filling, bocodillos (small filled rolls)... and so on. Complimented by the huge barbecue, there was no excuses for anyone to go hungry.

Together with the donkey, horse and oxen and cart rides for the children, the highlights of the fair are the many street performers, traditional pipe bands and dancers that wander the fair and entertain the eager crowds. They create such a buzz and whenever they stop to perform, a crowd soon forms and their imagination is captured for a few special moments.

Three characters that always raise a smile are the giant (human) foam puppets who stroll around and interact with the crowds. One in particular always draws a following mainly on account of his rather large (foam) penis he is only too willing to show to the ladies and demonstrate its squirting ability to lookers on....( watch the video).

You can easily spend half a day at this market, wandering around, sampling the wares and admiring the craftsmanship and skills on display, soaking up the atmosphere as you stroll. We shared cider with friends, ate tortilla and sampled cheese, bought cheese and bread and Luis even skipped. Replete,  we watched the world go by and petted a young donkey, all in all a great day out.


  1. Just fabulous, thanks so much for posting :)


  2. Anonymous11:20 am

    wow - excellent -the pipe players - is that traditional for that area?

    1. Yes CIG - a very Celtic influence in this part of Spain as you can see from the triscol. The pipes are known as Gaita.


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