Lugo – Fiesta de Arde Lvcvs

Since the pandemic began in 2020, almost no fiestas have been held in Spain. They have made valiente efforts in this regard. Modifying them, downsizing, de-crowdifying. I think most cities decided, until this past spring, that it was less expensive, and less risky, to give them a miss. There was always next year. Now, as we are learning to live with the virus in Spain, next year is finally here. And fiestas have returned in earnest to their former glory. And no one is happier about this than Spain, because no one, anywhere, throws a party like the Spanish.

In Valencia, we had Fallas. Weeks of ear blasting fireworks, giant minots, and the setting of things on fire. Fire is synonymous with Valencia. But, here in Lugo we have Arde Lvcvs.

Arde Lvcvs is the celebration of Lugo’s Roman past when Lucas Augusti ruled the region and Lugo was the capital. They named the public hospital after him. The fully intact Roman wall surrounding the old city is just more evidence of Roman influence that continues to present day. I love Lugo.

Arde Lvcvs (Lucas) is a four day fiesta every June that captures this Roman past with faux battles between the Romans and the Castros (native people aka Gallegos). The city is resplendent with banners and military encampments. There is a Roman circus, chariot races, and a Roman market. Even Roman marriages are performed by the mayor. These are only good for one year. But the woman can decide to extend it. It’s her choice. If she does so for seven years, the marriage is considered legal and binding.

The city’s residents, from the oldest to the youngest, get in on the act by dressing up and participating.

Don’t laugh, but Jeff and I had no idea about this when we had to drive into Lugo this weekend, and we decided to have some Chinese food in the centre. When we got there it was mayhem.

‘Why the hell are all these people dressed up as Romans.’ A legion, complete swords, shields, spears and a band, had just walked by. ‘Or cave men?’ Those are the Castros – the people the Romans were busy suppressing in the 3rd century. Earlier in the fiesta, apparently there was a battle over an old Roman stone bridge. With the Castros attempting to scale the city walls. Think of it like those civil war reenactments in the US. Yeah. I know. I don’t really understand those either.

We had no idea what we were about to see. The closer we walked towards the wall, the thicker the period-clad population became. Passing through the gate, it was crazy and amazing at the same time.

We watched the Roman marriage ceremonies. Toured the market. Ate some crappy 3rd century cuisine- just kidding. 😉 That’s where Luciens draw the line on the authenticity meter. They can’t abide terrible food. Sadly, we missed the Comilonium – the open air banquets. And the Bacchanalia. Heavy sigh. Next year.

Dodging little kids sword fighting, we made our way back to the car to head to the Bricomart. As you would expect, Jeff is all about going back next year in costume. This will give us time to research designs, etc. He likes to be authentic in his cosplay. Now, I need to start researching San Froilan – the big fiesta in October. If there are any costumes needed for that we need to start shopping now.

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