St. Roque´s Typical Dance in Calamocha
The St. Roque´s Typical Dance in Calamocha is the most distinguish prevailing tradition in Comarca del Jiloca, which characterize the patron saint festivities of Calamocha, in honour of The Asunción Virgin and St. Roque and are celebrated from August 14 to 18 every year.
In 1885 the village suffered from a cholera epidemics and offered the Saint a dance for its protection, that included comments and prayers in the way of poems called “dichos”.
Continuing the tradition since 1886 and with a lot of feeling the “calamochinos” (that is how the inhabitants of Calamocha are called) repeat every year their emotional and particular homage to their glorious Patron Saint Roque. Every August, young people and not so young perform their peculiar pilgrimage by dancing.
Three times they dance to their Patron Saint: On August 16, day of his festivity, on 17, day of Saint Roquico y next Sunday, when the statue is moved back to his chapel.
Approximately about three hundred dancers dressed on white with a blue belt in most cases, are situated in two rows, in the order of most seniority to the least, in front of the statue in the procession.
Each person dance to the music with the person to your front, with the one behind you, and with the one opposite you who is your partner and whom you will change position at the same time.
The dance and procession are interrupted only if there is a person who wants to pronounce a “dicho”. He would go towards the dancer carrying an ornamented and colorful baton with shells and pumpkin´s pilgrim, he would take and rise it, then everyone would silence and stop dancing, and finally he would talk his chronicle about some current aspect of the village, more or less criticized, about the festivity or other aspects, addressing the statue of the saint and asking for help before saying good-bye.
The music, of popular origin, was adapted at the end of the XIX century by Manuel Marina, who introduced some variations in order to play it with drum and dulzaina (a pipe), but also with a music band.
Each one have their own style according to their experience. The most veteran are situated near the saint and the younger open the dancing with a duration of about three hours. There is not tiredness or either a sleepy feeling on detriment of the feelings and pride to make an act that can be considered the most characteristic symbol of the “calamochinos” sentiment.
On August 17, is celebrated the St. Roquico Feast taking place the traditional dance and also the solemn Mass that finish on a touching procession through the streets of the town, in which gains importance the ritual breads (a rosca hanged on the saint to provide blessing and protection for those who enjoy them).
The St. Roque´s typical Dance was declared a festivity of Regional Tourist Interest in Aragon dated on 30 May 2012.
Also, remarkable dances in honour to St. Roque are celebrated in some other villages of the Comarca like in Ferreruela de Huerva and Cutanda.