Way of St. James
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A MIÑA VIAXE
The Festa do Monte lost its religious character a century ago, but not the interest of the A Guarda residents, who continue the custom of climbing the Santa Tegra mountain to celebrate a great pilgrimage on the second Sunday in August. Actually, the festivities, the most important ones of the year for the people of A Guarda, last the whole week, and end on the Monday following the so-called Domingo do Monte Sunday, with a impressive display of fireworks.
Starting on Thursday, the festival limelight falls on the bandas marineras, around twenty groups of friends who fill the town with bass drums, drums and bagpipe music and their bright coloured clothing, and the fun atmosphere is sure to rub off on everyone. On Saturday there is a great parade through the town centre in which all the bands and traditional Galician music groups from A Guarda take part. The following day, the bands climb up the mountain, where they play their percussion instruments without stopping, making a great roar, to perform the "xura" ritual: everyone drinks wine, swearing to return in memory of those who couldn’t be there. The pilgrimage becomes a great party all through the mountain, which continues in the afternoon during the descent of the bands, called "A Desfeita", from the mountain to the port, through the streets of A Guarda. They come to their final stop in Montiño where the bands regain strength by eating and drinking with other pilgrims.
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