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On the night of the 23rd and in the small hours of the 24th of June, the Fiestas dedicated to St John the Baptist begin, with celebrations including the “St John bonfires” and the “Daybreak with Chocolate” at the crack of dawn, to get one’s strength back after a long night. This dawn celebration, with a long tradition behind it, started off in 1965 and, since then, all those present are invited to drink hot chocolate and muscatel wine, always livened up by competitions and dances. At midday in the Plaza de la Paz, the chupinazo rocket is launched from the City Hall balcony, after which the official opener of the fiestas, the pregonero, will start a procession through the town on horseback proclaiming the start of the fiestas.
The 25th of June is the day of the Patron Saint, San Felices de Bilibio. St Felices was an anchorite and was St Millán’s teacher, and a procession is held in his honour. The brotherhood of St Felices was founded in 1655 and is in charge of taking out in procession the caskets which hold the relics of this saint and of St Millán.
The feast day of St. Peter is 29 June, known all over the world as a special day when the popular Wine Battle is celebrated on the hilltop of Riscos de Bilibio. This celebration has been classified as a Tourist Attraction of Special Interest: it continues three centuries of pilgrimage in honour of the place of prayer to the City’s Patron Saint, San Felices de Bilibio. The origins of this ritual can be traced back to the death of the anchorite in the year 533.
The Regidor Síndico, the chosen official, heads the retinue on horseback, riding to the Hermitage of San Felices, who lived in Los Riscos in the 5th Century, and, having put the city’s flag in place on the highest of the rocks, mass begins, followed by the Wine Battle. This is a battle with no winners or losers, where participants throw wine at each other; all methods for throwing the wine are acceptable in this battle without casualties. Botas (wine skins) and even spray pumps are used to drench opponents with thousands of litres of wine, transforming Los Riscos into an impressive spectacle. After the battle, everyone joins in on a mid-morning snack and as midday draws near, the people return to the city to move round and round the Plaza de la Paz in the typical vueltas (turns) to accompanying music, carrying on along the Calle de la Vega until they reach the Bull Ring where the yearling bulls are fought.