Every year, on the first Sunday in August, the residents of Catoira stage a spectacular re-enactment of the Viking invasions that occurred a thousand years ago.
Thousands of people make their way to this Galician village every first Sunday in August to witness this entertaining traditional fiesta. Local residents, dressed as Viking warriors, have been acting out the pirate attack on the village since 1960.
The fiesta starts at around 10am with performances by folk groups in the streets of Catoira and at the main celebration venue, Torres del Oeste Castle. This fortified structure from the 11th century is one of the most important archaeological and historical legacies in Galicia. It resisted military raids for centuries. Nowadays, it contains the ruins of two towers and a chapel dedicated to St James the Apostle. During the festival it serves as a medieval market and, at lunchtime, there are mussels and Ulla wine for people taking part in the procession. Later on comes the main attraction of the festivities: the disembarkation. The invaders arrive at the northern Spanish coast on board a replica 11th-century Viking vessel with the goal of capturing Torres del Oeste Castle. The local residents try to resist the attack and there is a simulated battle where the participants end up completely soaked with wine. After the battle, everyone joins in a picnic of local produce such as octopus, roasted sardines, pies, etc., with the pleasant sound of typical bagpipes playing in the background. The fun continues well into the night with open-air celebrations and activities such as literary proclamations and the staging of a play.
- Catoira (Pontevedra. Galicia)
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