Sunday, May 24, 2015

Fiesta and the village comes together

Our home La Pasera is on the edge of Toriello, a small village about 5 Km from Ribadesella in the Spanish northern region of Asturias. Life in the main is very quiet with few cars passing by as villagers use it to take the children to school, commute to work or drive to nearby towns and cities. Other than for the occasional person who may walk or cycle past our home, we can easily go by days during which we would see very few people other than for those whom we may meet as we walk past at the time when they may be waiting for the bread to be delivered to their doorstep by one of the several bakers that serve the village.

The general peace and quiet of the village may be disturbed mainly by the occasional tractor driving past with fodder for the animal that graze the surrounding meadows or by a distant animal raising an alarm when threatened. 

The overall quiet feel alters when we come together to celebrate the two annual fiestas we have in the village. 

The first fiesta was celebrated last weekend was in honour of Our Lady of Fatima, one of the two patron saints. The other been St Martin which gets celebrated in mid November.

For the May fiesta, about a month before, the festivities committee visits every household asking for donations to help finance the event and the hiring of a big marquee in case of rain. The fiesta is always celebrated on the weekend that coincides with mid May.

On the Friday, the general peace of the village is broken when several rockets get fired up into the sky to herald that the effigy of Our Lady of Fatima is about to be taken to the neighbouring village where she will left overnight in the church.

Very early on Saturday morning, more rockets are fired to announce the big day and that the festivities committee is starting to work to ensure the remaining tasks are completed.

Just before midday, villagers and those visiting will be gathering to walk over the next village and bring back the effigy of Fatima. Many of the women, men and children taking part will be dressed in very fancy costumes. The ramu, a wooden structure covered with bread cakes, sweeties for the children and decorations will be also carried and after a hymn is sung in hour of Fatima we all return to the village where the fiesta continues before retiring home for linnch.

During the night. two bands will be playing music in the marquee where there is also a bar where people gather to have a good time and celebrate the coming together of a community until the early hours of the morning when the bands finish their merrymaking. The serving of hot chocolate heralds the end of the fiesta for those who had been partying all night and the return to quietness once more until the next fiesta in June when the village will once again gather to celebrate the Summer solstice with an evening "al fresco" picnic.

Wentworth and Gawber always welcome the passing of the fiesta taking away with it the influx of people, cars, loud noises and rockets although they seem to get immune to the loud bangs after a few rockets have gone off.



  1. Traditions are so important for a community and something to look forward to. We seem to have lost our local customs here mostly. I love the intricate plaiting and colour of the women's head scarfs. Thank you for the photos. JENNY

    1. Thank you for reading Jenny - we agree, traditions are important, they are the glue that keeps communities together.

  2. nice to have these community things :) My village also has two main events - based around carnivals - everyone goes

    1. They are important events CIG, in these days of people working and socialising mainly outside of their immediate communities, these events are an opportunity to come together to share and nurture our heritage and common bonds.


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