Allyson Johnson

Pieces of my Mind

Freeway Free in Spain: Every Day a Festival

CacerasDragon2013We happened to be in Caceras on St. George’s day. Great Britain’s favorite dragon-slayer is also the patron saint of Caceras, so, being Spain, a festival is called for. This one involves the making and parading of a large paper-mache dragon through the streets, accompanied by an army of costumed Moors (the dragon’s evil henchmen), their ladies in various ideas of harem dress, and a princess destined to be sacrificed. This group is pursued by a squadron of Christian knights sporting white tunics and red crusader crosses, followed by the hero, St. George, on his white horse ( a highly trained Andalusian paso, striking camera-friendly poses all down the street). When the parade reaches the Plaza Major, St. George defeats the Moorish leader in a swordfight, then plunges a blazing torch into the dragon’s heart. The dragon bursts into flames, and the princess, St. George, and his horse watch its demise from the battlements of the Old City, as ear-splitting fireworks and rockets illuminate the Plaza.

St George in waitingYou can google “Caceres dragon” and get a pretty good idea of the festivities – videos from this year may be posted soon but don’t bother to look for me. We are way back under the arcades opposite the guys juggling torches.

The dragon-burning was fun. W and I were mostly surrounded by tall people and people with kids on their shoulders, but we did get a good view of St. George as he waited in the wings on his white horse behind the fire engines (can’t be too careful around a fire-breathing dragon!), and during the subsequent sections the main action was projected on the castle walls so all could see. After the dragon was lit and St. George and his horse had taken their bows everyone headed for the exits at once. We stopped for a helado once we were free of the crowd and ambled back to the hotel alternately looking upward at theĀ  fireworks visible between the buildings on the narrow streets and looking downward at our ice cream.Festival's fiery endCan you spot St. George on his white horse gloating from the balcony?

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