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The Dances of Fornela

These dances are, without any doubt, the tradition best kept in Fornela and the identity symbol par excellence of this land, as well as one of the major reasons for the pride of its inhabitants. The dances of Guímara, Chano, Peranzanes and Trascastro have been kept alive without significant changes until the present days.

The Dancers of Peranzanes and Chano are performing on days 15th and 16th of August, in the sanctuary of Nuestra Señora la Virgen of Trascastro. Those of Guímara were dancing too in Trascastro until 1877, year they ceded their rights to those of Chano for two glasses of wine. Since then their honoring their patron saint Saint Bartelomé (they dance for 3 days around the date of August 24th). The folk of Trascastro used to dance within their small village in order to celebrate the Christ (7th of September), but since 1997 they dance on the 17th of August too in the sanctuary of Tracastro. This change meant quite a lot of conflicts between the people of Chano and Peranzanes (the only ones with the official authorization to dance in the sanctuary) and those of Tracastro who saw the future of their dance being endangered since not many people were left in the village in order to perform it in September. After a few meetings and with the help of the arbitration of the mayor and of the bishop of Astorga, they finally reached an agreement permitting them to perform their dance. These facts highlight the utmost importance given in these lands to the habits and customs inherited from our forebears.

The dance circles are traditionally compounded of single men (with the exception of Guímara where women were recently allowed, no without controversies). The number of the dancers can be of twelve (minimum) or of sixteen (maximum) including those called “chaconeros” (married men or advanced in age) and “palilleros” (children), even if, in Guímara, there are two boys taking over the function of “aguadores” (carrying water).

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