The nine see baths tradition

Beach at the occidental coast of Asturias

September arrives and with it, a tradition very settled by these lands. The 9 bathrooms.

Do you know what it is? It is said that if during the month of September you take nine baths in a row, of at least 9 waves, you protect yourself from colds throughout the year.

Do you know what the reasons are? Well, there are several opinions. Some say it's because in September the sea has more iodine. In other cases, because the sea temperature and the ambient temperature is very similar. In others, because September is the time when the sea has the highest temperature of the year, and has a certain thermal effect.

A bit confusing, yes. The truth is that we have found no scientific basis to support this rite. But it is true that sea baths are healthy. And it is customary for spa treatments to last about ten days.

I knew it as a local custom. But searching, I have seen that in many parts of Asturias and Galicia there is this tradition. And looking for even more, also in the South, in Almeria.

And you, do you have any similar tradition?

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Andai de día, que la nuechi ye mía

La Güestia - Halloween

(Walk during the daylight, the night is mine)

Local traditions in Asturias, and much more...  Do you think that enlightened pumkins are just for american Halloween?


We are nearly in the All Hallows Eve. Or Halloween, Samhain, Tosantos, Night of the Dead... These is a data where the pagan and the religious mix, separate, stir or shake, like a gintonic. Pure syncretism. From the festivities of muertitos in Mexico to the Spanish Don Juan Tenorio.

Is it a Christian or a pagan tradition? It's hard to get it right. Acording to Celtic culture, it was a celebration of the end of the harvest.

Anyway, today we would like to tell you what or who the “Güestia” is. Either the “Santa Compaña”, or the “Burra Parda”, or the “Hueste de ánimas”, or the “Estadea”, or the “Corteju de Genti de Muerti” ....... Popular Asturian, Galician, Castilian, Extremaduran traditions... In Asturies, the Güestia is a procession of dead people who roam penance on the roads, announcing death, on this magical night. If you meet them, it is said that you will die within a year, unless you are a “Vedoria” person. In that case, they cannot affect you, but you can predict who is going to die soon.

Surely, nobody wants them to come to their house, of course. Therefore, lights are put on the roads, to light their way and pass by, not to stand. In the absence of electric light, hollow pumpkins were put on, with holes and candles lit inside. Hollow pumpkins with a candle inside... what does it remind you of?

In Ireland, the Banshees announced death. In Zamora, a ragged woman who stinks does the same.

Religion or paganism? Legend or reality? Invention or popular culture?

I know, everything is pure legend, popular culture that goes far away from borders and survives for centuries.

But just in case, during the Hallows Eve…

"Andai de día, que la nuechi ye mía"

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La puya’l ramu

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