A Romeria for St Anthony

Statue of St James the Greater, Romeria de San Antonio, Breña Baja
The statue of St Antony, 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.

Lorry handing out free wine, romeria de San Antonio, Breña Baja
Lorry handing out free wine, romeria de San Antonio

Since it’s a big event, most of them don’t happen every year. Tonight will be the romería from San Antonio to San José. The statue is St James the greater. 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.

Romeria de San Antonio
Music critic, Romeria de San Antonio

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.

Private mobile bar, San Antonio romeria, Breña Baja
Private mobile bar, San Antonio romeria

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 followed by a dance.

Folk dancers at  the romeria of St Antony, Breña Baja
Folk dancers at the romeria of St Antony, Breña Baja

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.

This article has 2 Comments

  1. Hi Sheila.
    The statue is “Santiago el Mayor”, not “San Antonio”.
    Santiago is the Spanish for “St James the Great”
    The Catholic Church celebrates the festivity of St James the 25th of July, hence the reason of the romeria.
    BTW, great blog!

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