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Many were the villages in Liébana where the carnivals were celebrated with a special relevance. In the municipality of Cabezón de Liébana and council of Piasca this beautiful tradition has continued over the years, and in these last years is the village of Cabariezo who has best preserved it. Children, youngsters, adults and elderly people go through the villages of Vieda, Cabezón de Liébana and Cabariezo dressed up.

Lets remember now how carnivals used to be celebrated in the council of Piasca. On Easter Wednesday the Lent began, and that day there was a habit of eating the "parva", which was a piece of bread moist in "orujo", after keeping the corresponding fasting.

The previous Saturday was called "frisuelero" because the typical "frisuelos" were made in the morning (tortilla made out of a light flour and milk dough fried in oil or fat). Sunday was called "gordo" or "torreznero" since people used to eat "torreznos" (fried bacon), after having "frisuelos" for breakfast. This is when the "comparsas" and the "zamarrones" began. The "comparsas" were formed by boys and girls playing the drums and the tambourines, making noises with pans and bottles which they hit with a knife or a fork.

The "campaneros" were those who opened the way for the "comparsas", and were generally children from the council villages who carried big "campanos" (cattle bells) which made loud noises as the cortege passed by. The women used to take along a donkey with their saddle bags in order to pick up "chorizos" (sausages), eggs, "torreznos", etc., within the people as they passed by them, giving out this things on their doorways.

Special mention deserve the "zamarrones", people who dressed up, adorned with colour ribbons, scarfs, etc., covering their faces with masks, and representing different animals, usually made with sheep and lamb skins. They also used to take brooms and sticks covered with cloths in order to stain the girls´ dresses as these got on their way. One boy used to dress up as a bear with a skin bellowing and wallowing in the mud. It was also frequent to see the dressed up clowns, with coloured faces, and a gypsy tossing for good fortune.

The children were invited to eat tortilla, and during three days: carnival Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, there was open air dancing, giving way later on to the Lent.



The "Virgen de la Luz" (Virgin of Light), affectionately well-known in Liébana as "La Santuca," due to its tiny size, was crowned by the bishop of Santander on May the 2nd, in the Monastery of Santo Toribio. The Pope Juan XXIII named her "Patroness of Liébana" in 1960.

The image is in the hermitage of the same name, at the foot of Peña Sagra, and is driven in Procession on April the 24th by all the devote people from the valley, walking from this hermitage up to the district of Somaniezo, where she will remain in the chapel until the following day. Then she is taken to the parochial church of Aniezo, and the "Novena" begings, finishing on the 4th of May.

The big day is May the 2nd, when the "Santuca" is driven from the church of Aniezo up to the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana and returned again at dusk. During 26 kilometers the "Virgen de la Luz" is carried, decorated with flowers and cherries. This is recognised as the longest walking procession in the whole Spanish geography.

Nobody knows for sure when this procession was first celebrated, although it seems that, already in the XV century, she travelled through the villages of Liébana.

The 2nd of May hundreds of devote people congregate in Aniezo´s church first thing in the morning. At seven, a mass takes place, and at eight o´clock the procession begins. The Virgin is walked down among the incessant chiming of bells and the explosion of rockets. It is preceded by the processional standard and cross of Aniezo´s parish church. When they get to Cambarco its processional standard joins them and the bells ring, also increasing the number of people following. Then they pass next to the hermitage of "La Blanca" and arrive to Vieda, where the mayor of Cabezón de Liébana traditionally receives the image, together with a couple from the Spanish Civil Police, who will escort the Virgin to Santo Toribio. In each municipal term the parochial standard and crossing joins the procession. First they arrive at Frama and later to the municipal term of Cillorigo, where the mayors´ maces hit each other and the municipality´s "edil" picks up the bier. Already in Ojedo the number of people who accompany the procession is impressive. When arriving to Potes the majors clash again their maces and a stop is made in front of the Old People´s Residence, singing the "Salve" (religious tune). Other stops are made in the hermitages of "San Cayetano" and "Virgen del Camino". In Fonfría, on the way out from the municipal term of Potes, the mayor of Camaleño receives the bier and they all walk up to the Monastery of Santo Toribio, where the Lignum Crucis, under pallium, accompanies "The Santuca" inside the temple, and finally a mass is celebrated. When the religious celebration concludes, the Virgin is driven down again to the parish church of Potes.

In the afternoon, after the beads and adoration praying, the image crosses the streets of Potes to return again to the parish church of Aniezo. Really impressive the amount of faithful people who then say goodbye to the Virgin. In Ojedo she is worshipped arriving afterwards to Frama, where they sing the "Flores" in the church. The "Salve" is sung in Vieda, and the Virgin is carried to the church of Cambarco, finally arriving to Aniezo in the evening. One of the most beautiful and expressive traditions of the Spanish geography is fulfilled so. The 4th of May "La Santuca" will be walked back again to her hermitage at the foot of Peña Sagra.

On the 24th of June, festivity of "Natividad de San Juan", and on September the 8th, festivity of "Natividad de Nuestra Señora", the village lads go up to the hermitage of Peña Sagra, where there is a mass and a concurred open-air dance with traditional music. Mainly devote people from Liébana and Polaciones.

In the municipality of Cabezón de Liébana open-air dances also take place in the villages, standing out the festivity of "San Bartolomé", August the 24th, in the village of Frama, one of the fiestas which, together with "San Tirso", in Ojedo, and "La Cruz", in Potes, use to say goodbye to the popular summer fiestas in the district. Also here thre is a lively open-air dance too.





Day 7.- San Julián - Los Cos
Day 14 .- San Hilario - Cabariezo
Day 17. - San Antonio Abad - Cahecho


Day 2.- Las Candelas - Yebas


Day 3.- San Emeterio and San Celedonio - Cabezón de Liébana


Day 2.- Procesión de "La Santuca", patrona de Liébana, from Aniezo to Santo Toribio


Day 24.- San Juan - Romería on the hermitage of la Virgen de la Luz


Day 16.- Nuestra Señora del Carmen - Torices
Day 25.- Santiago Apostol - Buyezo


Day 6.- El Salvador - Luriezo
Day 15.- Nuestra Señora - Lamedo y Perrozo
Day 16.- San Roque, in the hermitage concejo de Piasca
Day 24.- San Bartolomé - Frama


Day 8.- Natividad de Nuestra Señora - Piasca and hermitage of la Virgen de la Luz


Day 11.- San Martín - Aniezo
Day 22.- Santa Cecilia - Ubriezo
Day 30.- San Andrés - Aceñaba, Cambarco and San Andrés

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