The Ascension is a very rooted celebration in the Asturian capital. The origin of it goes back to XVI century. What in its day was born as a livestock contest has grown in a participatory dimension. Now not only farmers and farmers congregate as before, but all kinds of people interested in Asturian products, willing to enjoy traditional culture in the city.
The days for the celebration vary, because the festival takes place 40 days after Easter. Usually, the last weekend of may.
Few appointments like this allow us to feel the weight of the Asturian countryside in an extensive compendium of rural activities. It is still possible to see in this fair the handshakes that seal the purchase and sale of livestock operations. At fairground of the Llosa there is a faithful representation of all the products that emerged from the Asturian villages. The cheeses: Gamoneu, Cabrales, Beyos, Casín, etc; craftsmanship: turnery, regional costumes, jet, tin, leather, basketry, wood carving, ceramics, honey, pastries, liquors, preserves, sausages, beans, cider ... Dozens of ethnographic exhibitions, parades, bagpipers, folk groups, Asturian mythology ... Absolutely of all that one can find traveling through the different Asturias that make up the geography of the Principality.
The Ascension is a multicolored event, full of smells, gastronomy and folklore. A unique pilgrimage in which the entire cultural spectrum of a community that lived essentially from the countryside is syncretized. And it is that well into the eighteenth century Oviedo had a symbiotic relationship with the surrounding countryside, and although the landscape of that time would be unrecognizable to a contemporary observer, somehow the Ascension serves to highlight those daily fairs, when Oviedo exercised its capitalidad yielding the urban enclosures to the markets arrived from the villages.
Since a few years ago, the livestock market has a specific location in the Fair of Llanera with a high level of participation, since the concentration of three thousand head of cattle is exceeded there. Among the most outstanding activities of the Fair are the agricultural machinery exhibition and the traditional tribute to the «Paisano y paisana del año», which recognizes the trajectory of men and women who have dedicated their lives to the countryside. Awards are also given to people and entities that have excelled in the promotion and development of the Asturian countryside.
The party has diversified so that in it there is something for all tastes, for all generations, for nostalgic people and for those who are more aware of the music of the last minute in the fairgrounds. In the squares of the Cathedral and Porlier take place Mercau Astur, with dozens of local produce stands. Through the streets of the city, a populous folkloric parade that attracts numerous formations throughout the Principality. The Oviedo fair is also a good opportunity to see live the best Folk music groups, the masters of the Asturian tune, enjoy the exhibitions of autochthonous sport, the contest of pourers, go to the bulls or dedicate themselves to the good gastronomy.
The Ascension as a gastronomic event has a own menu which is, in addition, one of the relevant signs of the culinary calendar of Asturias. The Ascension, which also wants to be an exaltation of spring, puts on the table a menu that has been imposed everywhere: that made up of time, governed the style of Oviedo and a cheesecake with cherries. Everywhere we find the same menu, so we feel more similar to the rest of the pilgrims, all those who accompany us in this massive fair that lasts from Friday to Sunday.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com