Wednesday, 31 August 2011

War games

While we were driving around Cantabria we stumbled across something very interesting. Heading from the motorway into unknown territory we found a small town called Los Corrales de Buelna and saw, flying from every lamppost, these:

Never one to waste an opportunity to use my camera and find out about local celebrations (which in Spain can range from spectacular to bizarre!), we went to see what was going on.

The Guerras Cántabras, or Cantabria Wars, have been held every year since 2001. They are organised by the local people from the town and they literally set up camp and stage the wars that took place between the Romans and the Cantabria clans during the Great War from 27-25AC.

Cantabria clans' camp
The camp is reconstructed with every detail of how life would have been then and the people dress in costumes of the time. The festival starts with the arrival of the Roman troops in the capital, Santander. There are re-enactments of battles which were fought, celebrations which were held and the final moments, held at the remains of a real Roman amphitheatre, when the Cantabrians, rather than surrender to the Romans, all poisoned themselves so the Romans when they arrived had nothing to conquer.

Clan hut with every detail

Interior of hut
The festival is held from the last weekend in August until the first weekend in September and is recognised as a local festival of touristic interest on a national level. I was told that foreign visitors go every year to follow the activities and many return. Our visit was just before the festivities began but we were fortunate enough to talk to one of the 'clan' members that had taken part with his family since the first year. He told us that they had gone from 200 people taking part to over 2000! They take it very seriously and see it as a way to preserve the history and culture of their region.

Rome wasn't built in a day!
I would have loved to have stayed and really get into the atmosphere of it all, especially when the campfires were lit, but time was against us - perhaps next year!

Hasta pronto!

1 comment:

  1. Wow that all looks like a lot of fun and sounds like a brilliant way of preserve the history and I am sure it’s a lot more interesting than watching history on TV, all the photos are really good I like the one of the hut interior.