San Roque is a festivity organised in various towns and villages, among them Llanes. Llanes itself, has a long tradition of festivities (fiestas). Infact, it can count on no more then 3 festivities, each one organised by a Bando. There is a kind of a rivalry between the three to organise the best festivities.
In July we have La Magdalena, with its main day on the 22nd (Saint Maria Magdalena). This festivity includes as well Saint Ana on the 26th, patron saint of the sailors of Llanes. In September there is La Guia with its main day on the 8th (Ntra. Sra. Virgen de Guía).
San Roque in August
The San Roque festivities take place in August. In Asturias every event is announced with the sounds of rockets exploding in the air. Also on the 16th of August, early in the morning, the main day of the celebrations. The early birds makes a parade through the streets while a music band plays the pasodoble “España Cañí”. Meanwhile hundreds of San Roque sympathizers slowly find their way towards the basilica. After a mass, the statue of San Roque returning to his chapel. The evening before San Roque was brought there with a smaller procesion.
The procession starts with seven loafs of bread offered to the Saint by devotees of Llanes y Pancar. Followed by hundreds of girls and women dressed in Llanisca, and the boys and men in the Porruano costume. After them comes the children who will dance the Pilgrim Dance, a Holy Relic and finally the image of San Roque, the priests and a music band. Through the streets of Llanes the whole procession goes to la Plaza de Parres Sobrino. There the hundreds in costume wait for San Roque. It is here where the children will dance the Pilgrim dance in front of the Saints statue, before the procession brings the Saint back to his chapel. When San Roque is back in his chapel at Plaza de Parres Sobrino starts the Folkloric Festival of Oriente de Asturias. A festival with various traditional dances of the area which ends with the Pericote of Llanes. The events in the morning ends with a Danza Prima to the Chapel of the Saint.
The afternoon starts with the traditional regional meeting of Gaiteros (Asturian bagpipers), which gather hundreds of pipers from various regions of the Principality. The meeting starts with a parade of all the pipe bands, after which each band recitals in various parts of the town. Around nine a clock in the evening each band will go one by one down to the Sablón beach performing before the thousands of visitors. Once all gathered at the beach they all together interpret the anthem of Asturias. Followed by the discharge of fireworks and for those who still has energy there is musical performances till early in the morning.
The festival of San Roque Llanes is declared of National Tourist Interest (Interés Turístico Nacional) since 1966, being one of the first in Asturias obtaining this consideration along with the Parade of America in Asturias in Oviedo.
700 years history
The chapel of San Roque was in the middle ages a hospital located outside the walls of llanes. You still can see on the left side of the chapel two alcoves which made it possible for the sick to hear the masses. As well it was a hostel for pelgims who does the Santiago de Compostela route. The hospital and hostel was named after San Roque the pelgrim of Montpellier. The inauguration in the 13th century was the start of festivities, and continued periodicaly in honor of San Roque as a gift from the town to the pilgrims who travel from all over Europe.
In the middle of the last century, in the year 1839 the festivities acquired another character. The brotherhood of San Roque was formed and from now on the festivities in honor of San Roque had a yearly character. Due to the rivalry among the Bandos, each festivity is spread over their month. As well the San Roque festivities, with markets, tournaments, and so much more … this until the 31st of August. As on the 1st of September, the devotees of La Guia start their festivities, the ones of San Roque goes to sleep and wait patiently 11 months.
Viva San Roque y el Perru.
Useful information …
Header photograph by Milenta
Article photographs by Bando de San Roque