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San Sebastian

Saint Sebastian is the Patron Saint of Ciudad Rodrigo. He's the one from the Derek Jarman film with all those naked Roman soldiers having a bit of a laugh as they shoot him full of arrows. He is usually shown in paintings tied to a tree and looking like a pincushion. That's what the statue of him that normally lives in the Parish Church of Ciudad Rodrigo has him looking like too. Apparently though he didn't die from all the arrows, he was left for dead but he miraculously recovered. Unfortunately for him, full of Christian vim, he decided to harangue the Roman Emperor Diocletian as he passed by and the Emperor had him beaten to death and thrown into a cess pit.

According to tradition he died on 20 January so in preparation for the big do on that date a brass band, lots of people dressed in capes or wearing a medal (which I'm guessing marks their membership of the "brotherhood" of San Sebastian), some young people dressed in a sort of page boy get up and a bunch of councillors and dignitaries headed off from the Town Hall and went to get him from the Parish Church. Announced by rockets launched into the clear blue sky they then carried his statue up to the Cathedral where it will stay till they carry him back to the church on the 20th.


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