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"FIESTA DE SAN ROQUE (1)" Borines Things to Do Tip by AsturArcadia

Borines Things to Do: 38 reviews and 184 photos

  The booze marquee in position.
by AsturArcadia
  • The booze marquee in position. - Borines
      The booze marquee in position.
    by AsturArcadia
  • The cemetery. - Borines
      The cemetery.
    by AsturArcadia
  • Preparations continue until the last minute. - Borines
      Preparations continue until the last minute.
    by AsturArcadia
  • FIESTA DE SAN ROQUE (1) - Borines
  • Prepared for rain . . . always! - Borines
      Prepared for rain . . . always!
    by AsturArcadia

This takes place on 15 and 16 August.

On the afternoon of the 15th one of the tallest eucalyptus trees in the district is cut down, and carried/dragged manually to the field adjacent to the church, where the fiesta is held. It is then raised, using several ladders and trestles, into vertical position. In the past a competition used to be held to scale the bare, branch-denuded trunk, to reach a 'prize' in a bag at the top (where the sole leafy tip remains). In recent years few if any folk have attempted the climb. No doubt one day such 'risky' activities will be banned by the Spanish Health and Safety Ministry, prompted by the litigation mania.

On the morning of the 16th the effigy of San Roque, a shepherd with his faithful dog, is moved from the chapel at the cemetery to the church (and returned later in the day).

Village fiestas are not what they were. Probably because villages are not what they were. In the past, the 'día grande' was anticipated as a day off work - a welcome break from the toil of animal husbandry and crop-tending, at the busiest time of the year - before or during harvesting. The rural population has dwindled - in many areas by as much as two-thirds over the past half-century. The village fiesta is no longer a truly local event, and it has lost a good deal of its significance through this. Village populations swell considerably during July and August, as relatives of the few permanent inhabitants come for their holidays (or for part of them, anyway). So, there are a lot of mainly urban strangers around. And a lot of cars. Usually big, powerful, swanky ones.

The type of entertainment provided has changed. In the past one would have enjoyed scything competitions, or the hilarious business of 'piesca l'gochu' - trying to catch a lively piglet liberally massaged with olive oil. The 'animal rights' activists (shame and pity on the poor creatures) banned that one about five years ago. To the frustration of the gochos, since pigs enjoy a bit of harmless fun.


Nowadays the focus is the bar marquee, and the band, hired at considerable cost, to pump out high levels of dBa at unsocial hours (from around 22.00 until 04.00 or later). Bands with corny names ('Tropical' comes to mind - yuk!), which belt their way insensitively through cover versions of popular hits and alien 'latino' dance music to the delight of a reduced number of boogying stalwarts who are usually complete outsiders, usually young, and doing the rounds of the local fiestas. But sir, do they REALLY boogie?

Most of the locals have far better things to do by then, such as trying to snatch a few hours' undisturbed sleep before embarking upon the duties of the next day - milking the cows, commuting to work, proofing magazines and suchlike. And trying to clear up the mess of broken bottles and glasses, and sloppy piles of puke.

The August 2009 edition of San Roque in Buriñes saw a drunken driver ártly demolish the drystone wall of the fiesta field (still not repaired six months on), and a gang of lads (not local) demonstrating the pyrotechnic skills with piles of rubbish in the loggia on the south side of the church.

Nevertheless, in the sets of photos on this and subsequent pages, let us focus upon the more wholesome aspects of the Fiestas de San Roque. Tam and I had a great couple of days recording the event for posterity.

Starting with . . . the preparations (Saturday morning).

Address: Buriñes, field near church.
Directions: Villamayor to Colunga road, right-hand side, just past Buriñes church.

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 25, 2010
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