The festival of San Roque and the balloon in Betanzos
From then, the throw of the Balloon would be included in the functions in honor of San Roque, and it would be carried out by different craftsmen, by order of the council. The aerostato would suffer the logical evolution of the times, therefore, at present, it called powerfully the attention the use of those “fourteen boards of pine table cut and six baras of chestnuts help the aerostatic balloon leave”, and it would be offensive that his elevation was not carried out from the tower of Santo Domingo.
Two balloons were constructed in 1840, and in 1863 by Manuel Ramos. They would be raised the nights of the 15th and the 16th of August. Two years later, Juan Contas received from the council sixty shields for his elaboration, and he would also be the builder of the three first big-headed ones used for the first time in 1893. In 1876, four balloons of different sizes ascended, according to the accounts presented in the Council.
Since 1877, it would be built by Don Claudino Pita Pandelo tinsmith, made with 120 kilograms of paper and 25 meters high and 50 in circumference, driven by the combustion of straw. The appliance has decoration notable artists that provide great originality, to which must be added the annual chronic recorded in its area.
The balloon is launched from the tower of the church of Santo Domingo, all 16 of August at twelve o’clock, with not less than fifty thousand spectators. For people from Betanzos, this is the link that gives consistency to pure betancerismo, which binds them to raise it mentally with its sentiment, expression and message, and at that time that all of them accompany it with the gaze, an expressive applause, and the ringing of bells, until it is lost in the universe.
Contents courtesy of the Official Chronicler of Betanzos, Jose Raimundo Nuñez-Varela y Lendoiro.