A small rock in the Atlantic

All about the island of La Palma, in the Canaries.

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Thursday, 24 July 2008

St Maurus's Church, Puntagorda

The church of St Mauro, Puntagorda, La Palma.

The first church on this site was built in the 16th century, when this was the centre of the village. Since then, the population moved uphill, leaving the church rather isolated, and the church has been rebuilt twice (the current building dates from the 19th century), and finally fell into disuse and ruin. It was replaced with a newer one, in the new centre of the village, in 1951, but many footpaths still run past the building. Perhaps more importantly, this is where Puntagorda holds it's annual religious fiesta, from the 14th of August to the 22nd. (The other fiesta celebrates the almond blossom, at the end of January or the beginning of February.) They'll be lots and lots of special masses, and a procession with the statue of the saint in Sunday 17th.

I'd never heard of St. Maurus (San Amaro in Spanish). He was an abbot and theologian in 8th century Germany, and apparently he was popular with the Portuguese settlers who founded the village.

The associated sports contests all happen before the religious ones, from August 4th to 14th. They hold tournaments of football, tennis and chess, athletics and an exhibition of Go-Karts.

The old parish hall stands in front of the church. It's a beautiful ruin, (OK, so I'm weird. I think ruins can be beautiful) but there are plans to restore it.

The church hall of St Mauro, Puntagorda, La Palma.

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Sunday, 20 July 2008

The Romeria de San Antonio

A romería is a cross between a religious procession and a party. Typically, they hold a special mass and then take the statue out for several kilometres along a traditional route, followed by floats which hand out free food and wine, and lots of people, some in traditional dress, many of them singing and / or dancing.

Since it's a big event, most of them don't happen every year. Saturday evening saw the biannual romería from San Antonio to San José. The statue is San Antonio. It all moves along quite slowly, so you don't get tired, even though it's three kilometres and all uphill.

Of course some people enjoy the singing more than others.

As well as the big floats, a lot of people bring their own transport or a decorated cart for the food and wine. (Mostly wine). Some, like this one, are home-made and have a lot of character.

By the time the procession arrives in San Jose, it's about ten pm. Sad to say, if you had that many Brits drinking for four hours, you'd have some trouble. Not here. Although every body is merry, hardly anybody is drunk, because they take it slowly.

The evening ends with a concert in the old church square - this year it was rock - followed by a dance. The music went on until 5 am.

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