The squares and streets of Vilanova dos Infantes are filled every May 17 with stalls where around 80 artisans offer visitors their products and showcase their craft. The beautiful medieval town centre experiences a wide range of activities on Galician Literature Day in which traditions are exalted, such as music and dance, traditional crafts, puppets and acrobats, popular games and ethnological exhibitions.
From early morning, a mixture of aromas wafts though this Ourense town, an example of the conservation of its historical heritage. The gastronomic diversity is abundant: pulpeiras (octopus cookouts), “ao caldeiro” meat, empanadas, bread, sweets, ice cream, filloas (Galician pancakes), doughnuts and other sweet treats.
The old stables of Vilanova, today garages or basements of houses, host workshops in which craftsmen work their trade. Visitors, who go on a typical Galician pilgrimage from the beginning of the 20th century, can see in front of their eyes how a sickle is made, how a cloth is woven, how a stone is carved, how a chanca (a type of shoe) is made, etc.
Musical performances are a fundamental part of this pilgrimage. Praza Maior, Plaza de O Balcón and Praza Tralacerca are the stages at which around 30 traditional dance groups perform throughout the day. What's more, a number of music groups perform small shows in the corners of the town and groups of tambourine players brighten up the festive day with their chimes and songs.
The Obradoiro de Xogos Populares of the CCP Xaquín Lorenzo Fernández organizes a number of different activities so that children can learn what games their grandparents played and adults can reminisce about the fun they had when they were young. Stilt races, hoops, sacks or sung games are a fundamental part of this event in Vilanova dos Infantes, where there is also a series of exhibitions aimed at helping visitors to discover trades, jobs and activities that are slowly disappearing.
Curros Enríquez, a great connoisseur and lover of Vilanova, recalled some of these trades in his work “A Virxe do Cristal”: “Vilanova dos Infantes / é vila de grande sona / n´hai zapateiros no mundo / que batan millo-la sola…”.(Vilanova dos Infantes / is a town of great fame / there is no shoemaker in the world / who strikes the sole better...)
The street atmosphere with craftsmen, bagpipers and dancers.