A historic rivalry between the neighbouring towns of Arnedo (La Rioja) and Andosilla (Navarre) led to the Fiestas of San Cosme and San Damián, officially declared Festivals of National Interest for Tourism, which now celebrate the fellowship of these two towns.
Tradition has it that the images of San Cosme and San Damián (twin brothers of Arab origin who practised medicine in an altruistic way) were originally located at the shrine of Santa Cruz de Andosilla in Navarre, where they were lost until they appeared in Arnedo (La Rioja). For this reason, every 27 September (the day dedicated to both saints), the citizens of Navarre and Arnedo symbolically dispute the ownership of the figures: some trying to bring them back to Navarre and other trying to stop them.The two highlights of the festivities take place on this day: the Dawn Rosary and the theft of the saints. To enjoy the first, you have to get up early: the citizens of Arnedo await the groups of singers from Navarre, called “auroros”, from five am in the place known as the Puerta del Cinto. Music and traditional refreshments accompany the Rosary prayer, which is led by both groups on their path to the church of the Saints. After the mass, Riojan “jotas” are danced until the start of the procession during which the citizens of Navarre shall attempt the theft of the images at three key points, shouting “Take them to Navarre!”. This is the iconic image of this Festival of National Interest for Tourism: the citizens of Navarre running away with the saints and the citizens of Arnedo forcing them back and defending their rights to them.This tradition is combined in Arnedo with a week of festivities, which include all types of leisure activities and shows as well as a bullfighting festival.