Date: Held in October 5th.
We may consider the Festivity of San Froilán as the most traditional of all we hold in León, for they link our city’s roots and culture from their beginning in the Middle Ages. Those are the days to experience the pilgrimages known as Romerías a la Virgen del Camino, enjoying the beauty of the Decorated Carts, remaining amazed of the hugest concentration of Banners of the region, and taking part in the dialectic fight that provokes the Tributo de las 100 Doncellas (a payment consisting in 100 young women), the incomparable Foro u Oferta de Las Cantaderas. All those are unique manifestations of our history and personality.
The Saint’s History:
San Froilán was born during the year 833 in Lugo, and he had a student life until, when he reached the 18 years of existence, he became a hermit and retired in the Gruta de Ruiterlán, in El Bierzo, nowadays a hermitage, and later on to the Leónese mountains of Curueño. As years went by, his life was marked by different events that forged his destiny. Perhaps one of the main events was meeting Adriano, the Mozarab priest from Tarazona. Along with Adriano, Froilán started a monastic life, and a reform of the hermit life.
Vicente, Bishop of León, died in the 900, and the people asked the king Alfonso III to name Froilán as the new Bishop. At the same time, Atilano was named Bishop of Zamora in Whitsun day. The ceremony was presided by the king and the court, which gives an idea of the importance of the figure of San Froilán at that time. He died 5 years later, in October 5th, and was buried in the Cathedral or former church of Santa María, in a sumptuous sepulchre initially built for himself by Alfonso III. The chronicles say that “the devoted neighbours of León mourned bitterly the decease of his Shepherd, San Froilán…”
The city lives an atmosphere of medieval and ancient inspiration that goes from October 5th until October 12th. Medieval Street markets allow the visitor to enjoy falconry exhibitions, crafts and by-trade workshops, hundreds of interesting stands and numerous theatre plays. The program includes some other flower and pottery fairs. The streets are crowded with the shows of Banners, the stand to taste products from the region, the music marches, the carts and the exhibitions of regional sports.
But San Froilán means also a time to imagine, to let the children discover El Jardín Encantado (The Enchanted Garden), or to let the teenagers enjoy the current music through the great range of concerts that cheer our squares up. Our city has a different view during San Froilán. León acquires even more personality, turning these days out into the perfect moment to help the first-time visitors discovering in our city a cosy, beautiful place. A place which is rich both in history and tradition.