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San Pedro Manrique (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2015-01-08 by ivan sache
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Flag of San Pedro Manrique - Image by Ivan Sache, 14 March 2011

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Presentation of San Pedro Manrique

The municipality of San Pedro Manrique (639 inhabitants in 2010; 17,620 ha) is located in the northeast of Soria Province (Highlands), on the border with La Rioja, 50 km from Soria. The municipality is made of the villages of San Pedro Manrique (capital), Las Fuentes de San Pedro (5 inh.), Matasejón (15 inh.), Palacios de San Pedro (12 inh.), Sarnago (7 inh.), Taniñ:e (4 inh.), Valdenegrillos (2 inh.) and Ventosa de San Pedro (13 inh.). The villages of Acrijos, Armejón, Buimanco, El Vallejo, Fuentebella, Peñazcurna, Valdelavilla, Valdemoro de San Pedro Manrique, Vea, and Villarijo are deserted.

San Pedro Manrique, originally known as San Pedro de Yangas, was granted in 1421 by King John I to Diego Gómez de Manrique, as a reward for his support to the new Trastámara dynasty. The name of the village was changed in 1464.

Ivan Sache, 14 March 2011

Symbols of San Pedro Manrique

The flag and arms (image) of San Pedro Manrique are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 25 January 1999 by the Soria Provincial Government, signed on 29 January 1999 by the President of the Government, and published on 9 February 1999 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 26, p. 1,387 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Quartered flag, white and red, of 1 m x 1 m. In the geometric center of the flag is embroidered the municipal coat of arms in full detail and colors.
Coat of arms: Per fess, 1. Gules three cestaños or decorated with their arbujuelos, in chief a sun radiant, 2. Vert a man proper walking over a carpet of embers or in chief sinister a moon argent. The shield surmounted with a Royal Spanish crown.

The arms represent the two main events of the St. John Festival, the Paso del Fuego (main field, nightly) and Las Móndidas (chief, daily), presented in detail by the Tourist Initiative Center of the Highlands of Soria, as follows:

Paso del Fuego (video)
You can look and feel the expert hands preparing with care and love the 1,000 kilograms pyre made of oak trees. They build it up in a rectangle shape, so when it is burnt it can be spread as a carpet of embers of about 3 m long and 15 cm thick.
This rite is held in the amphitheater of the chapel of Virgen de la Peña (Virgin of the Rock). From 2,000 to 4,000 people follow this amazing rite about which they have heard but cannot believe. On stage, pasadores (those who walk on the embers), m&oaucute;ndidas, companions and preparadores (those who prepare the rite) dance around the fire. A shiver runs down the spine when, in the middle of the silence, a man from the town rolls up his trousers to his knees and - carrying another person on his shoulders (móndida, girlfriend, friend, wife, son, neighbour...) - walks along the ember carpet with determined steps. It is not important if he gets burnt or not, the only thing that matters is his audacity and daring, as well as the sparks that come up at each step. The audience can feel the heat of the embers mixing with the warmth of the claps and hugs among the pasadores.

Las Móndidas (photos)
After the magic night of St. John, the festival goes on in the morning and the Móndidas play the leading role. As with the fire rite, the Móndidas meaning and origin are unknown, with two main theories: the one that remember the hundred ladies, the Conquest and the later Reconquest from the Moorish; and the one by the anthropologist Caro Baroja, who states that it has a Roman origin based on the so-called Ceralia, or the Spring party in honor to Ceres, Goddess of fertility and agriculture. The second one is much more to the point.
The Móndidas are three single women aged between 18 and 27 chosen by drawing lots on the 3rd on May, the Cross of May day. The day before St. John, the cestaño, a basket in the shape of a truncated cone, is made by a municipal employee. Inside the cestaño, the cakes, doughnuts and arbujuelos (branches covered by baked bread and dyed with saffron) will be placed. Together with three spades, it will be raised on a pyramid. The branches are tied so they are fixed and some stones are placed inside as counterweight. Everything is tied with white braid and decorated with a pink ribbon and finally covered with roses.

White and red appear to be the village's colors. The Móndidas and most pasadores are dressed in white and red.

Ivan Sache, 14 March 2011