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Fiesta del Carmín
Siero (Centre Asturias) (Pola de Siero)
Festival of Touristic Interest
First monday after 16th July
Fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Carmen y Carmín: la romería de Asturias
Talking about the Carmín is to talk about something very well-known and traditional: much has been said or written by investigators at some time, but there is always something new to say. This fiesta began in 1695, the year in which Andrés Quintanal and his wife María García, of Pola de Siero and devoted to the Virgen del Carmen, paid for the construction of a hermitage in Les Campes dedicated to the Virgen del Carmen, forming a Brotherhood under the advocacy of the Carmel. The chronicles record that it cost 12,000 reales, and that it was blessed on July 17 that same year, that is to say, the day following the festivity of the patroness and a proposal was made to celebrate the festivity in 1696. This hermitage was situated among the chestnut trees which occupied the present day Plaza de Les Campes, and beside the road which was followed by the pilgrims on the way to Santiago de Compostela. The members of the brotherhood were numerous a came from all over the province to celebrate the festival of their patroness on the Sunday following July 16 if this did not fall on a Sunday. They held a procession in which, among other activities, until the beginning of this century, they performed the dance of "los Danzantes", and carried numerous "Branches", a custom which lasted until 1879, when it was lost. However, the number of members of the brotherhood attending on Sunday was so great that it was necessary to organise a second fiesta on Tuesday, the market day in Pola de Siero, so that the devotees of the district could celebrate their patroness. Those who normally rose early for the weekly market, came to town with food, which consisted basically of eel pie and other homemade dishes which they ate in the chestnut copse once the religious ceremonies and dances were over. It goes without saying that, once their stomachs were full, they continued with singing and dancing, culminating at dusk with the Danza Prima, whose chorus "Viva la Virgen del Carmen!" exalted the patroness. The importance which this Tuesday pilgrimage acquired with the passing of time and to the detriment of the Sunday pilgrimage, to such an extent that we can consider it to be the embryo and origin of the current Carmín, is exclusively owing to the fact that, in the dual origin of the fiesta, the profane component, acting as a dynamic element for the changes in collective mentalities, little by little absorbed the other component, the religious one, until the latter was annulled, and relegated exclusively to the Sunday fiesta, consisting of a solemn Mass and  a procession in honour of Nuestra Señora del Carmen. Although these times of its origin are no far off in the XVII century, the pilgrimage of El Carmín continues, in synthesis, to be the same as that of Tuesday, with the logical changes which the times have imposed. One of these changes was the date of the celebration: it went from the Tuesday to the Monday following July 16, the festivity of the Virgen del Carmen. The fundamental reason which explains this change was the destruction of the hermitage during the French invasion, recorded in 1815 in one of the accounting books of the Church signed by Diego Fernández Linares, the parish priest of Pola de Siero. The documentation also reveals that the hermitage bell was handed over in order to forge a new one for the parish church, whose bell was broken.

This historical summary shows the grand tradition of a fiesta which is considered to be one of the grand pilgrimages of Asturias, and which enlivens the summer in Asturias, both on the day of the fiesta itself and on the previous days with fun and cultural activities. This year the grand celebration will be held on July 17 and 18.
• Fiesta del Carmín in Pola de Siero: the pilgrimage of Asturias
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