Los Negritos de San Blas

With cork-painted faces, the "Negritos" dance to the rhythm of the small drum and castanets in honour of San Blas.

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Dances and colour for the Saint

Location and Contact:

Montehermoso , Cáceres (Extremadura)
  • With cork-painted faces, the "Negritos" dance to the rhythm of the small drum and castanets in honour of San Blas.

    One of the events not be missed if you find yourself in the vicinity of Montehermoso in the month of February is the festivity of "Los Negritos de San Blas". The fiesta begins on the February 2 when at nightfall, the "Negritos" dressed up in their colourful attire and blackened faces take to the streets in search of the butlers to later go on to the church of San Sebastián and to the shrine of San Blas to dance inside there.

    The Negritos are accompanied by the "Palotero", who is in charge of carrying the sticks used by the dancers for their dances in a goatskin pouch, whose attire differs from that of the rest of the group. He wears very brightly coloured clothes to attract the attention of the passers-by, carries a cap in imitation of the bishop's mitre and castanets made of cork that make no sound. 

    Moreover, throughout the night, in what is known as the ’Velá’ (vigil), the Negritos, still without blacking up, go around the houses of the old butlers, accompanied by the new ones carrying big fleeces, to the sound of the castanets and small drum, to thank them for their devotion to the Saint and for their collaboration in keeping this traditional fiesta alive, which has been declared a Festivity of Tourist Interest in Extremadura.

    The next day, at dawn, the "Negritos" get together to dress up again in traditional Montehermoso costume and go to the houses of the butlers to continue the burnt cork face blackening ritual.

    When the bells begin to ring, the "Negritos" and the butlers go to the church to pick up the priest and, along with the worshippers, go to the Saint's shrine, where mass is held and the cotton strings of San Blas are blessed. These strings are later sold by the "Negritos" and Butlers as they ask for “la maná” to protect the throats of those who tie them around their neck.

    At the end of the mass, these take the statue of the saint out of the chapel and the "Negritos" honour him with their dances. They then accompany the saint in the traditional procession, which runs from his shrine to the town's, Plaza Mayor, where the dances are repeated. So, if you haven't been able to enjoy the traditional dance in honour of San Blas by these blackened-up dancers, you can do so if you go the town square around 12 noon.

    A fiesta at which you can, in addition, savour the traditional Montehermoso confectionery and keep the cold at bay with a hot chocolate that is normally served at nightfall on every 3 February.

  • Type:
  • Tourist Interest in Extremadura
  • Event subject:
  • History
  • Religion
  • Popular traditions
  • Start date:
    End date:


    • Events

    Target audience:

    • Families
    • Young people
    • Single people
    • Senior citizens
    • Children
    • Couples
    • Single people


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