La puya’l ramu

We present to you an ancestral Asturian tradition. It has been since the 14th century documented, although it is believed to have pre-Christian origins, similar to the German Erntedank and other European festivities linked to crops.

It is currently linked to the religious festivals at the villages. Several espelt breads are blessed, after the procession of the saint or virgin of the people and the Mass. There are also breads from other cereals or even, as in the photo, sweet roscas. The breads are placed in a pyramidal structure full off with flowers, branches and ribbons.

Then, there is an auction. It is said that these blessed breads may protect you and your family. Actually, the auction money is used for church maintenance and charitable expenses. Currently, the money is used to pay the festival expenses. Sometime, people bid more than 50 euros for any of them!

 

It is a very important event, so many people dress the traditional costumes. And you can feel traditional music and dances.

Photo: Rocío Fernández

A Neolithic mine, a Belgian engineer and an English company.

Mina de Texeu

Few people know that there were many more mines than just coal mines all around the north of Spain. In addition, most people does not know very much about mining before the 19th century. This is a very interesting and very little known example…

It all starts in the middle of Bronze Age, around 1500 BC.  In order to obtain bronze, it was necessary to get copper and tin. Moreover, here we find a copper mine from that time, with galleries excavated and perhaps the first catalogued mining accident in history.

The mine was abandoned until the 19th century.  At that time, Belgian engineer Van Straalen located the remains of this mine. Buried in a gallery, he found 16 human bodies, some with hammers on his hands. Then it was said that they were ritual burials. Today some say it was the first recorded mining accident in history.

The mine was re-opened with English capital, through “The Aramo Cooper Mines Ltd.”  They built new galleries, buildings and more treatment settlements. The mine was closed and opened several times until it was definitely closed in 1960.

Currently, you can visit the environment, in the middle of nature, its facilities, as well as the entrances, both Neolithic and contemporary ones. It is very dangerous to enter the bowels of the mountain, but you can see remains of mining activity just at the first steps. Hole marks, abandoned wagons, digging wells…

 

This place will be part of our themed trips. A walk through nature, history and our industrial heritage.

Wooden canes

Vara de monte

If you ever forget your mountain canes, you can always try to find a branch dropped to the ground and using it as a cane. Never take one of a living tree, it could be a protected specie.

All shepherds around the world have used wooden canes and sticks as a main tool. They are essencial at the mountains. They help us walking, and they also scare away animals, and serve us to climb or go down more comfortably in mountain areas. In the Canary Islands, traditional shepherds make spectacular ascents and descents with long wooden sticks.

In northern Spain, wooden sticks were mainly from hazel. They are flexible but resistant rods. The shepherds used it in the bush to jump, climb, guide cattle and walk on slopes or snowy areas. And nowadays they continue to use them.

The old photo is not from the 1900 Olympics. It is a shepherd’s competition in Picos de Europa. Today, the “salto pasiego” is a traditional Cantabrian sport that looks a bit like pole vaulting.

So you can see everything that can be done with a simple stick….

(classic photo obtained from www.foropicos.net)