Battle of Lepanto in Barlovento on Sunday

The battle of Lepanto, Barlovento, La Palma island.
The battle of Lepanto, Barlovento

The patron saint of Barlovento is Our Lady of the Rosary (la Virgen del Rosario). The Christian victory at the battle of Lepanto in 1571 is attributed to her, soevery two years, Barlovento stages a re-enactment of the battle as part of the annual fiesta. This year, it happens on Sunday 11th at 6 pm.

Here’s the fun part: the original sea-battle involved 80,000 men, and the re-enactment consists of about 80 men on dry land. They use a field outside town and the boats are on wheels.

Obviously, this is deliciously silly.

They make a rather good toy castle with about 12 visible defenders, which gets attacked with lots of dramatic bangs which throw dust up into the air – I think they must bury explosives in advance. The Christians win, take all the Turks prisoner, and march them off to church where they all convert to Christianity. Politically correct NOT! But then I’m sure that somewhere there’s an equivalent Muslim fiesta which ends with all the Christians converting to Islam. Of course the fiesta carries on with music in the plaza and dancing long into the night.

Last time (2008) I was in the wrong place to see the naval battle, so I hope to catch it this time.

The battle of Lepanto in Barlovento, La Palma, Canary Islands
The battle of Lepanto in Barlovento

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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