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San Bartolomé de Pinares (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-02-17 by ivan sache
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Flag of San Bartolomé de Pinares - Image by Eduardo Panizo Gómez (Vexilla Hispanica website), 21 May 2011

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Presentation of San Bartolomé de Pinares

The municipality of San Bartolomé de Pinares (634 inhabitants in 2010; 7,449 ha) is located in the east of the Province of Ávila, on the border with Community of Madrid, 25 km of Ávila.

San Bartolomé de Pinares is famous for the yearly St Anthony celebration (video footage). Quoting the Oddity Central website, 18 January 2010:

Every year on January 17, the people of San Bartolomé de Pinares celebrate St. Anthony by riding their horses, donkeys and mules through piles of burning tree branches.
The unique tradition of leaping over and through flames dates back 500 years, but the men and women of San Bartolomé de Pinares still celebrate it religiously. They gather all the branches they find in the days leading up to the festivities, and when dusk falls on the eve of Saint Anthony's, they light them ablaze. Riders lead their mounts through the burning piles of the village, accompanied by sounds of drums and Spanish bagpipes.
Jumping through the flames is said to bring the animals the protection of St. Anthony, acknowledged as the patron of domestic animals, ever since the Middle Ages. Locals believe the fire purifies their animals and protects them against illnesses, all year long.

San Bartolomé de Pinares is the "birth" place (disputed with Chapinería) of the Spanish hero Eloy Gonzalo (1876-1897), an abandoned child adopted by Braulia Miguel, who raised him in the village for 11 years. Gonzalo enrolled in the Spanish army and became in 1896 the hero of one of the most famous episodes of the colonial war lost by Spain in Cuba. Gonzalo's was among the 170 soldiers besieged in the town of Cascorro by 2,000 Cubans.
Quoting War and Genocide in Cuba, by J. L. Tone, The University of North Carolina Press (2006), Chapter 1. Eloy Gonzalo and the Disaster of War:

On the evening of October 5, Gonzalo approached the Cuban position alone under cover of darkness carrying a match, a tin of gasoline, and a rifle. He did not expect to live, so he had his comrades tie a long rope around his waist in order to drag his body back to the Spanish lines. As it turned out, Gonzalo set fire to the building and even stayed behind to watch his handiwork, picking off the backlit Cubans with rifle fire as they tried to douse the flames. The Cubans lost their stronghold, and Gonzalo returned unharmed. The garrison, heartened by Gonzalo's success, held out until a Spanish column under General Juan Jiménez Castellanos arrived to force Garcí­a and the Cubans to lift the siege.

Honoured as the "Hero of Cascorro", Gonzalo was granted on 29 April 1897 the Silver Cross for Military Merit but died from fever a few weeks later. His remains were repatriated and solemnly buried in Madrid on 16 June 1899; on 5 June 1902, Gonzalo's statue was inaugurated on Cascorro Square by King Alfonso XIII.

Ivan Sache, 21 May 2011

Symbols of San Bartolomé de Pinares

The flag and arms of San Bartolomé de Pinares are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 28 April 1989, validated by the Royal Academy of History, and published on 12 April 1991 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 70 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Quadrangular flag, sky blue. In the center of the flag is placed the coat of arms of San Bartolomé de Pinares, with proportions 1:2.
Coat of arms: Argent four pine trees [pinos] on mounts vert a naked arm or armed gules holding a knife sable hilted gules The shield surmounted with a Royal crown closed.

Ivan Sache, 21 May 2011