Santa María de Castelo parish is the only place in Galicia where the tradition of facha torches survives. Studies suggest that this rite was a way for communities living in pre-Roman castro settlements to communicate, although it may also be part of specific magical-religious rituals. In any case, it is no coincidence that the burning of the fachas, which signals the start of this parish’s festivities, takes place at the highest point of an ancient castro.
Fachas are long wooden poles, normally made of pine, that measure up to ten metres in height, covered almost entirely in layers of white asphodel stems. Making them is a painstaking process as every facha requires between five to seven thousand stems.
On the afternoon of 7 September, the fachas are taken to the castro and are placed into the ground in a circle around its edge. At night, rockets fired from the castro summon everyone to attend. The lighting of the fachas transforms the castro into a spectacular sight that can be seen over the whole area.