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Monday, January 17, 2022

History of a tradition: San Antonio Abad

The couple who bring out La Pionera every year are interviewed in the film

San Antonio Abad (Anthony the Great) is the patron saint of animals and farmers, amongst other things, and his feast day is held on the anniversary of his death, 17 January

The origin of the livestock tradition - in recent years the fair has gathered some 600 head - in Buenavista del Norte goes back to the year 1528, the date on which the beginning of religious acts around the image of the saint is marked, according to studies collected in the publication 'San Antonio Abad and his festivity', by the historian Álvaro Hernández Yanes, who in turn dates the beginning of the modern romería (pilgrimage) to 1979. 

In the absence of the celebrations of San Antonio Abad, due to the pandemic last year, the town hall of Buenavista del Norte made this delightful film (full 25 minute version), detailing the history of this tradition in the district, in an effort to keep the memory alive. 

In it, many of the regular characters of this fiesta are interviewed, in Spanish obviously, all familiar faces to me having spent almost a decade in the area and going to this fiesta regularly, talking about the importance of the fiesta and what it means to them. 

The films also include lovely footage of the views of the town itself and its surroundings, particularly Teno Alto and the El Palmar Valley and the infamous goats.

They've also posted videos of the previous fiestas and romerias in 2004 and 2005.