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Los Maios de Villafranca

The “Festa Dos Maios” is of pagan origins and is celebrated every beginning of May in Villafranca del Bierzo. It originated in ancestral times.

This celebration is now the last example of this tradition within Castile and Leon. Its pagan origin shows how important the influence of traditions still is in the rural world as it is related to the magical and rejuvenating circle of nature and fecundity. In 2012 it has been declared as a Fiesta of “Provincial Touristic Interest.”

During this day the young people of the village cover themselves with "Cañaveiras" and transform themselves into animated trees walking through the streets of Villafranca, including the famous Calle del Agua, accompanied by a crowd of followers on the rhythm of a medieval melody, which we believe was brought by some pilgrims of the St James Way.

These young people are going around holding “maias”, baskets in which the inhabitants are throwing coins from the windows and balconies of their houses, then singing to them songs in old Galician depending of the generosity of the gift.

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