2006 Fiesta de San Ramón 18 Aug

San Ramón Nonato
is Torre del Compte’s patron saint.

The Fiesta of San Ramón is the village’s biggest Fiesta and lasts for 5 days. San Ramón's day is the 31st of August and the Fiesta should start on the 27th of August; but because the vacationers to our village will be packing up to return to Barcelona, Zaragoza, and other cities to get their children ready for school, the first four days of the Fiesta has been moved to the middle of August, but the 5th day is still on the 31st.

This year, the first day of the fiesta starts on the 18th of August.

On the 12th of August, each family had to go to the school and pay (like a ticket) for each member of their family. This fee had to be paid by everyone that would be enjoying the fiesta -- whether you were a vacationer or permanent resident.

For one person it was 28 Euros. For multiple people -- 2,3,4,5, etc. persons in a family – you get a discount. This “admission” price helps pay for the bands that play each night for the people to dance and for the lunch on the last day of the fiesta.

Then, there is a fee for each member of a Peña (club house, club or group of people). The fee for our Peña was 60 Euros per member. This money pays for everything you eat and drink at the Peña – a dinner each night, plus the beer, liquor, Cokes, Fanta, potato chips, olives, paper plates, plastic cups, ice, etc. (We had five carts at the supermarket, filled to overflowing!)


Today, around 5:pm, several bon-fires were lit in preparation to cook the sausage that would be given to the people of the village.

The sausages were donated by the Caja Rural de Teruel Bank.

Carlos and Elena are the couple that got married in the village last year. They were the first couple to get married by the current mayor.

Carlos is a professor at the University in Barcelona. Elena is now pregnant and is due in December (2006).

When the fires have burned down leaving hot coals, three “bottle rockets” are set off to explode in the air, announcing it is time to eat.

The people rush to the loading platform to receive their sausage and chorizo (a type of sausage), a container of olives and bottles of homemade wine.

(The way the people rush to receive their free food and drinks, you would think they had not eaten in days or weeks!!)

A few of the men, who knew what they were doiong, took charge of cooking the sausages, placing them on a grill and putting the grill over the hot coals.

Within minutes the sausages were cooked and ready to eat.

The sausages were then handed over to a couple of women who cut them and placed them between slices of “Barra de Pan” (what we would call French bread).

Colin and Margaret enjoying a drink while waiting for the sausages to cook.

These are photos are of Lola enjoying holding somebody else’s baby. Could this possibly make her wish for another one…….NAHHH, I don’t think so!!

Pretty soon, everybody was eating their sandwiches and drinking wine (or coke, or Fanta) and having fun.

All of a sudden, from out of nowhere, two “Cabezudos” (big headed people) came running and started chasing the children and scaring them.

It was all in fun, but most of the very young children were really scared.

When everyone is full, and the children are tired of running from the “Cabezudos,” a man with a “Bombo” (large drum) accompanied by a small band of saxophones and trumpets appears.

The man starts beating the drum and you are supposed to follow them. This is the beginning of the “Ronda de Catacroks” (a round of catacroks).

The man with the drum leads the people in a procession to each peña (club house) in the village. At each peña, a table has been set up with “catacroks” for anybody who wants to drink one. A “catacrok” is a mixture of a lime/lemon soda with gas and a shot of vodka. You cover the glass with the palm of your hand, raise the glass a few inches from the table, then slam the glass down on the table to mix the soda and vodka, causing it to foam a little. Then you down the drink in a couple of swallows.

CAUTION: You DON’T want to have a “catacrok” at EACH peña. There are more than 12 peñas in the village. It’s best to have only 2 or possibly 3 “catacroks” MAXIMUM or you will not be able to enjoy the rest of the evening.

This is a photo of Maria del Mar (“Mar” for short) and her son, Xevi (pronounced CHA-bee). Mar is a model and does some TV commercials.

She is the daughter of Maria Antonia who married last year to “Pep” in Cardedeu (just outside of Barcelona). Jordi and I attended their wedding.

It’s a little dangerous to get from one peña to another because t here are some people waiting on their balconies for the procession to pass beneath them so they can throw water on them.

So, you must always be looking above to see if anybody is on their balcony.

Sometimes they surprise you by waiting just inside an open window and suddenly throw a pan of water on the people below. Usually, once the water has been thrown, you have a chance to run past the house while they refill their pan.

However, a few people cheated – they had water hoses (which NEVER has to be refilled) and would spray the crowd with a continuous rain.

I have yet to understand, or have it explained to me, the significance of why they throw water on the people. I can see that it adds an element of danger and suspense to the procession, but about half-way through the village you are usually soaked to the bone. At which point, you stop running from the thrown water because it couldn’t get you any wetter than you currently are.

After making a round of all of the peñas in the village, everybody heads home to change into some dry clothes and then goes to their respective peñas for MORE drinks and appetizers. This merriment at the peña continues until 1:am when the music starts. Tonight it’s a DJ playing music. Everybody from 2 to 92 goes to the Plaza Mayor to listen and/or dance to the music.

I managed to stay until 2:am and then slipped quietly away, went home and crawled into the bed. Five minutes later I was asleep. Jordi and Hector didn’t come home until around 4:am. (Hector is Jordi's nephew from Barcelona. He is visiting with us for a few weeks. This is the first time he has been to the village since he was around 2 years old.)

I need some rest, because tomorrow is another day of fun, food, drinking and dancing!! (It’s only the first day and I can’t wait for it to be over!!)