When the summer ends, in Asturias we still have one more festivity, the festivity of Saint Matthew. September in Oviedo is a nice time to spare. During a couple of weeks, this city offers a wide variety of activities. The native people and tourists mix themselves in a festival event. The Saint Matthew festivity marks the end of summer and the beginnings of Autumn which represents the life routines.
During these days of festivity we can attend to concerts, processions and festivals. There are also activities for the youngest, bullfighting, fireworks, sports competitions… Although the official programme of festivities develops between the 15 and the 21 of September, the festivity really starts some days before and lasts some days after the official date. And although this festivity mainly concentrates on the historical centre, we can also find amusement in all corners of this city.
In the 80’s and after a constant evolution of profane events, the festivity of Saint Matthew little by little began to take part on open air for the visitors to enjoy it best. Today all the squares of the urban centre are full of little bars that accompany musical shows and theatre on open air. The outside bars and marquee gens favour a social environment and help us taste the local food and wine. The centre of this city turns into an open space to enjoy it standing up. All the amusement is on the road during nights and days, with its bars and performances.
The musical shows are probably the most popular events and respond to all people’s tastes. On the Lanes of San Lázaro, the most famous pop and rock bands play at low price. In the Square of the Cathedral, jazz, flamenco, folk, urban music and the most famous artists of our musical panorama make the delight of all visitors that here have free entrance. This is a perfect occasion to have a drink while listening to live music. The opera finds its site at the famous Campoamor Theatre which offers different sessions during this time.
One of the most important events during the festivity of Saint Matthew is The Day of America in Asturias. The Asturian emigrant has on September 19th a ceremony on his honour. This celebration counts with a crowded traditional procession. In that morning we can enjoy the popular music of some folklore groups of this region. In the afternoon a parade full of Cuban, Colombian, Mexican, Brazilian, Argentinian… floats go by the main roads and streets of this city. On the pavement and on the balconies there are lots of people who follow this procession throwing confetti and streamers. Also in this procession we can observe the popular “haigas”: luxury and old cars that ride the roads of Oviedo. They were old prototypes of those cars that the Asturian emigrants used to buy in order to make clear their new economical status. It is usually told that when the shop assistant asked the emigrant “What kind of car are you looking for?” Then the emigrant answered: “The biggest you have”.
The Day of America in Asturias started to be celebrated in 1950 and it is today a festivity declared of National Tourist Interest. In this day we can find many people from America enjoying this festivity. On the Vip Box we can see the representatives of all delegations of the American countries.
On September 21st, the day of Saint Matthew, all people usually have lunch at the streets, parks, fields and gardens. The typical food for this day is called “el bollu preñao” a piece of bread filled with a sausage. Both bread and sausage are cooked together so finally the bread takes all the fat and taste of the sausage. This small lunch is usually accompanied by a bottle of wine that is shared with relatives or friends. There is also a tradition in these days “les paxarines” figures made of flour, yolks and saffron that are also thought to protect houses from tempests.
In the night this festivity ends there are wonderful fireworks. This is a spectacular event that was celebrated for the first time in 1920. This popular event takes place in the Winter Park and is observed by more of 100.000 watchers every year.
Today this festivity is famous in all the country. And as it was said before, this festivity is celebrated at the end of summer, taking into account the fact that this is mainly a university city so it is always going to be full of young people. They are mainly the people who will turn on this festivity.
Texto: © Ramón Molleda para desdeasturias.com