The feast of Los Exconxuraos is a three day long celebration that commemorates a historical event that took place in 1408, when the people of Llanera, a small village in central Asturias, rebelled against the abusive taxes that were charged on them by the bishop-ruler of Oviedo at the time, Don Guillén. Because of their rebellion, the bishop excommunicated them and shut the town’s church. But this didn’t daunt the rebels’ decision to maintain their resistance.
Four years later, when Don Guillén died, the villagers tried coming to terms with the new prelate, and arranged an end to the disputes. In order for the punishment on the people of Llaneras to be lifted, thirty gentle men had to go on a pilgrimage to San Salvador’s church in Oviedo with ropes around their necks, ash on their heads, and a sack for all clothing. The Exconxuraos celebration commemorates these events in a three day festivity that includes many activities.
- Medieval dinner: There is a great plain outside the village that is given the atmosphere of a medieval castle ward, fitting 1400 people to have a typically medieval dinner all dressed up in the costumes of the time. Wizards, jesters, firemen and bears recreate different events to entertain the guests.
- Medieval Tournament: There’s no medieval dinner without a duel between knights… After the dinner is over, four knights fight over the love of their dame. As you can imagine, only one can result a winner.
- Falconry exhibition: There is also a bird of prey exhibition taking place every day, in which eagles, owls and falcons are displayed.
- Spectacles and performances: Many modern music bands have visited Llanera to entertain the locals in the hot summer nights of July, after the rest of the celebrations are over.
- Medieval market: Another typically medieval event, where the people from the village, and surrounding towns sold traditional crafts, cattle and farming surpluses. In the present day market one can find typical products, traditional jewelry and handicrafts, and see different atelier exhibitions conducted by the local craftsmen.
- The parade of the Exconxuraos: The recreation by the villagers of the historic pilgrimage to Oviedo to ask for the bishop’s forgiveness.
- Traditional games, puppets and jesters: Clowns, jesters and troubadours tells stories of the medieval times and carry out magic tricks and fire acrobatics.
- Bars and Taverns: being the Exconxuraos festival a symbol of the union of the people of the village, associations are very present and take an active role in the event, installing bars and taverns –each of them with a different decoration- at the fairground where the main events take place, for locals and visitors to chill out and enjoy typical dishes and drinks.
- Sbandieratori: the sbandieratori or standard-bearers are very renowned associations in Italy, and which performed the so-called “military games”, very impressive acrobatics with the flags they carried, both in war and peace times. In Llanera they wander around the market fairground performing their astonishing tricks.
There are other side activities, like a lights and fireworks exhibition every night, and a traditional music exhibit with bagpiper bands and folk acts that accompany the Exconxuraos parade on Sunday morning.