La función

The function begins with the last meeting of the quintos of the town, this meeting will be a month before Christmas approximately, in it the quintos and the quintas that throughout the year have been doing the traditional functions, from the bonfire of Kings the night of January 5, to the “puesta del Mayo” on the 1st of May, including the slaughter of roosters and rabbits on the Sunday and Tuesday of Carnival respectively and the wedding of the “quintos” which takes place on the Monday of Carnival, where the “quinto mayor” marries the “quinta mayor” and to which almost all the friends and relatives of the “quintos” are invited to taste the delicious food prepared by the mothers of the “quintos”.

All the functions are accompanied, like the Zangarrón, by orchestra dance sessions that the quintos themselves organise and by large banquets that the mothers are in charge of preparing and to which the musicians are also invited along with friends and relatives of the quintos.

We return to the last meeting before the Zangarrón, where we will choose who will be the Zangarrón this year, almost always want to be more than one and therefore we will draw lots, we will also discuss the position that each one will take in the ranks of dancers, but then the drummer will relocate them to your liking by the way of dancing and playing of each one so that everything goes out as showy as possible. The last of the row will be in charge of doing the bow with the banner and it should be the youngest quinto unless the drummer decides that someone else should do it because he/she is unable to. It will also be agreed who will be in charge of the door of the dance and who will be in charge of the ticket office.

At the end of the meeting everyone knows their mission and they start to get the castanets and the leguis which they will ask the neighbours of the town who have kept them for years, the leguis are leather gaiters used by the horse army as a supplement to the boots to protect the trousers from the sweat of the horse and then the country people used them to protect their legs when they cut firewood in the mountains. Nowadays they are no longer made, so the neighbours who have them leave them behind for the performance and then keep them like gold, the leguis will be worn by all the dancers throughout the performance and the Zangarrón will also wear them but only on eve when they are not dressed as Zangarrón.

It is already known who is going to be the Zangarrón and the rumours are starting in the town, will he be a good Zangarrón, will he be a bad Zangarrón? Everyone will have something to say but he doesn’t care and he will be ready to go all out so as not to make his quinta look bad and for that he will prepare himself during the days that remain until the 25th of December. It is usual to see the future Zangarrón running at night with a big coat or capote and the cowbells to get used to running with a lot of weight on top, he must be in very good physical shape for Christmas because the effort of being Zangarrón is tremendous, only known by those who have really been inside this clothing for the hours that the show lasts because you have to endure by force because if you stop they will talk for years about your ridicule and that of your quinta.

The day after the Purísima (9th December) the rehearsals begin, the quintos have gone a few days before to the drummer’s house to ask him to play the show and to lead the rehearsals, he agrees and he makes an appointment for after the Purísima at 9 p.m. in the rehearsal room and that time is valid for every day, whoever arrives late will pay the fine, The fines for non-compliance with the rules of the performance are collected by the drummer and the money collected will be used once the performance is over on the 26th to pay for the rounds that will be taken in the bars of the town, the “asador mayor” (quinto mayor) will arrive a little before the agreed time at the bar and from the door of the bar he will play the “caracol” (as if it were a trumpet call) this call can be heard throughout the town and it announces to all the “quintos” that it is time to go down to rehearse, they will all have to arrive before the drummer to avoid paying a fine.

Once everyone has gathered, they go down to the hall to begin rehearsals. The first day will be used by the drummer to see the defects and virtues of each one dancing and playing the castanets and he will decide the position of each one according to their qualities so that the defects can be disguised as much as possible in the rows.

The first three or four days the rehearsals will be behind closed doors until the quintos begin to dance and play well, then anyone who wants to can enter but on the condition that they do not disturb, otherwise the Zangarrón will punish them with the vergajo, the tradition was that the previous quintos would try to hinder the dances and the Zangarrón would try to avoid this.

Before starting the rehearsals of the dances, every day they will make a simulation of Easter inside the hall, the drummer will ask one by one to all the dancers the Easter of a neighbour of the town that the drummer chooses at random, they will have to recite the stanza of congratulation of Easter as if it was about that neighbour, the original stanza of this function is:


                                                 ¡AVE MARIA PUSIMA ¡ (says the quinto at the door)

                                                             ¡ADELANTE ¡  ( replies the neighbour)

¿quien recibe las Pascuas? (says the quinto), the neighbour will say which member of the family he has to recite Easter to and the quinto quickly looks to that member of the family and tells him:


                                                 QUE TENGA USTED FELICES PASCUAS

                                                 EN EL NACIMIENTO DEL HIJO DE DIOS

                                                 CON MUCHO AUMENTOS DE GRACIA

                                                 ESPIRITUALES Y CORPORALES

                                                 EN COMPAÑÍA DE SUS (PADRES, ESPOSA, HIJOS, ETC)

                                                 Y PERSONAS DE SU MAYOR AGRADO.


                   QUE USTED LAS RECIBA CON LA MISMA CONFORMIDAD, (the neighbour will answer if he has said it right).


The relatives that are included in the penultimate line of the Easter season will have to say it well, saying only what that neighbour really has at home those days and without missing or exceeding any relative, If he says them well he will receive the Christmas bonus and if he fails in the list of relatives he will have to repeat them until he says them well but he will have to do it as quickly as possible because the Zangarrón who also goes house to house collecting the Christmas bonus if he arrives at a house where one of the quintos is saying Easter he will hit him with the stick and take away everything he has collected up to that moment. In the hall rehearsals this is a simulation of Easter, the drummer is told that he will pretend to be a neighbour of his choice and if they fail they will receive a good vergajazo, after a couple of rounds of Easter they will do a few dances, the first few days more and then as the days go by they will dance and play better and better and the time and the dances will be reduced, until Christmas Day arrives when they will rehearse in the morning as the last rehearsal before the performance which will start that same evening at 7 p.m. with the descent of the Eve.

After the day of the Purísima (8th December) the Zangarrón will collect the “aperos” for the performance from the Town Hall, he will be responsible for handing out as late as possible before the performance to each character their “trastes”, “capotes”, sashes, swords and tambourines, the rest of the things, such as the “leguis” or gaiters and the castanets for the rehearsals, each person will ask for them from someone in the town. Old coats will also be provided for the night, so as not to spoil the capotes for the performance, as the quintos spend the whole night partying in the town’s wine cellars.

The neighbours of the town are also getting ready and the people who do not have cowbells are borrowing them. Nowadays the cowbells are kept exclusively for these days, but in the past they were used all year round for the livestock and were lent out on these days for the cencerradas.

At the Zangarrón’s house the mother will prepare the costume and the utensils, she will air-dry the costume (before the mules’ blankets) and touch up the mask, which will always be missing some ribbons that will be replaced every year. The mask will also be creamed inside and out so that it becomes more docile and does not hurt the Zangarrón. They will have been attentive for days to ask the neighbours who are doing the slaughtering for the pigs’ bladders to inflate them and dry them in time.

They also procured a dried rabbit skin to make the anklets, (nowadays the anklets are already part of the Zangarron costume, no need to look for them).

A day or two before Christmas the Zangarrón will distribute the original castanets for the performance and they will only rehearse with them the day before and in the Christmas morning rehearsal, in the rest of the rehearsals they will play each one with their own castanets, the castanets for the performance are of a specific colour according to the position of each dancer, thus, the two Mayordomos wear them brown, the four Bailonas wear them red, the two Tocadores wear them white and the two Asadores and the Asador Mayor wear them black, a total of eleven dancers, the Zangarrón twelve and thirteen with the drummer, these would be the thirteen indispensable members to perform the show, the years that there are not enough quintos, collaborators are sought in the lower quintas and some years that there have been more than twelve quintos the show is performed with more dancers, the privilege of performing the Zangarrón show cannot be taken away from any of the quintos.

DISTRIBUTION OF POSITIONS and utensils and distribution of the members of the function, will be as follows:

-LOS MAYORDOMOS (2), who had the mission of lighting the Saint in the most important masses of the year, New Year’s Day, Three Kings, the Purísima, Christmas etc., and of course in the Zangarrón mass, in which they were helped by two more quintos, two quintos would sit on either side of the saint, lighting him with candles.

These Mayormos will be dressed with capotes, they will be the first in the two rows and they will carry the swords in the return of Easter around the town, like the Zangarrón they will go all over the town, in the swords they carry “espetadas” (skewered) the samples of the slaughter that the neighbours gave them in each house, this would serve later for the lunch of the quintos, nowadays they give them money and they are in charge of putting in the swords a piece of bacon and another of chorizo.

-LAS BAILONAS  ( 4 ), They are in charge of carrying the saint in and out of Mass and during the procession they will join the rest of the quintos, in all the dances they are dressed without the capotes, wearing crossed sashes on a bandolier, formerly with an ecclesiastical design and nowadays with the colours of the Zamora flag (red and white lists and a green one), For Easter the route will be done in two groups of two Bailonas and a Tocador, each group will go through half of the town, each group occupying the second and fourth places in the rows.

-LOS TOCADORES ( 2 ), are in charge of accompanying the two couples of Bailonas, they will go one with each couple playing the tambourine while they recite Easter to the neighbours, they will be dressed with the capotes and will be the third in the rows and help the priest at mass.

-LOS ASADORES (3), There are two smaller Asadores and the Asador Mayor, who was the smallest quinto, who will be in charge of making the bow to the saint with the banner, making three bows, demonstrating that if the smallest quinto can make the three bows, the rest of the quintos will surely be able to do the same.

This Asador Mayor will be the last in the rows and will go through half the town alone at Easter, the other two Asadores will occupy the fifth places in the rows, they will go through the half of the town left by the Asador Mayor, the three Asadores had the mission of cooking lunch with the samples of the slaughter that all of them have collected at Easter in the town, the three Asadores will be dressed with a capote and will also carry swords to prick the pieces of the slaughter, they will also help at mass.


Finally, the long awaited day of the EVE (25-12 CHRISTMAS) arrives, the night before Christmas night has already noticed the large influx of young men with cowbells roaming the streets until the wee hours of the morning, some all night, and there have been some cellars open all night and with fire in it for the young men to warm up before continuing with the “cencerrada” (ringing of cowbells).

At seven o’clock in the afternoon, the time agreed with the drummer, the whole town goes to the Zangarrón’s house, most of them with cowbells to challenge the Zangarrón to try how he moves without his costume, as on Eve the Zangarrón goes out without his costume. Some young men have already challenged the Zangarrón and he has promised them a race.

Inside the parents’ house they offer everyone who wants to enter a sweet and a drink, in the street the bustle of cowbells is tremendous and everyone wants it to start now, everyone goes out into the street at a signal from the drummer and they stand in their places in two rows to go down dancing the “pasacalles”, from that moment on no quinto can take off the capote and the leguis, The Zangarrón will go out dressed with a capote and the leguis on his legs like the rest of the quintos and he will be in charge of keeping the rows clean of people protecting the dancers with his vergajo, In this function of protecting the rows, he will be helped by the Asador Mayor (last in the row) with another vergajo when the Zangarrón is not among the rows, the Zangarrón will punish with force the dancers who will harass them all the way to the final part of the route, the road, Once the route is finished, the Zangarrón will be tucked in with a blanket and should rest to regain strength for the tremendous beating that awaits him the next day and be fresh at five o’clock in the morning when he will be woken up to start dressing him in the Zangarrón’s costume.

On the road (end of the route of the Eve) people comment on the descent, for some it is a good Zangarrón, for others a bad one, they will never agree, the young men show each other the marks of the vergajazos received, for them they are their “trophies”, the people go to dinner to go later to the dance that has been organised by the quintos.

The guard duty of the quintos begins and they will be on duty in groups of two and in two-hour shifts, making sure that the rest of the quintos do not take off their capotes and leguis and during their shift they will be in charge of the two decks of giant cowbells of the show, these will not stop ringing until the next day at midday when the show ends, the people of the town will ask the quintos for them, agreeing with them the time of delivery and collection so that they do not stop ringing, If the quintos on duty catch someone with the cards stopped, they will punish him strongly with the vergajo and they will take the cards away, the cards cannot enter the bars or the dance, every two hours the guards will take over, handing over the cards of cowbells and the vergajos until the last guard which will be done by the Asador Mayor alone and he will be in charge of waking the Zangarrón, the drummer and the quintos who have decided to sleep.

The whole night will be lived with great intensity in the town, first in the dance that today lasts almost all night and then in the cellars that will be open and with fire for anyone who wants to visit them, in the cellars the groups (peñas) make chocolate and garlic soup to delight the evening to locals and visitors, the noise of cowbells will not stop throughout the night while the peñas go from cellar to cellar in the race.

At approximately 6 a.m., after agreeing it beforehand with the person who will dress the Zangarrón, the Zangarrón gets up and starts to dress him/her, normally a person who has been Zangarrón before, this is a ritual that in the past lasted longer because they used to dress with the blankets of the mules that should not be spoiled because they were used after the show for their usual work, nowadays there is a suit of jacket and trousers made with the same fabric of the blankets that is kept from one year to another, the way of dressing has not changed because all the pieces are sewn with hundreds of stitches so that the Zangarrón during his runs behind the mozos does not feel uncomfortable or bothered by the suit, There will also be a division of opinion on the way he is dressed, “he is well, he is badly dressed”, but that is also part of this ritual, the important thing is that he is as comfortable as possible because he is going to suffer a tremendous suffering due to the weight of the clothes and the mask and the heat that all this is going to give him, when he starts to sweat the temperature that he accumulates inside the suit is tremendous. In addition to the blanket costume, he will wear a white stocking and a red one with two tassels of the opposite colour each one covering the calves, some anklets of rabbit feet over the boots, a red apron, a bait box or knapsack where he collected the fruit when money was not too plentiful, hanging on a shoulder strap on his right, on the left wrist a red sock that will serve as a bag for the money he will collect from the hunted lads and from those who give it to him voluntarily, a pack of cowbells strapped around his waist with three cowbells and two bronze shells that give him a very special sound (very Sanzoles), on the head a red scarf which is changed when it is soaked with sweat so that the mask sits well, this is made of leather (in the past it was a piece of wine skin), with a tuft of coloured ribbons (previously coloured paper) from the forehead to the rump covering the whole of the back, On the crown of the head there is a rose of coloured ribbons and in the lower part hang “las escarapelas”, two balls and a stick covered in red cloth, which simulate the male genitals which, according to legends passed down to us by our elders, represent that no woman should wear the mask. He wears a chinstrap on his chin that will be used by the Zangarrón to adjust it and to hold it during his runs, moustaches and a goatee made of the beasts’ mane hair, all of this has a weight that will make the Zangarrón suffer unspeakably during the hours of the show.

The Zangarrón is already dressed and goes out to “warm up” he will trot around the town without the mask covered with a blanket to warm up and also to see if it has been well sewn and if any part is unsewn before putting on the mask it will be sewn again, when he arrives after having gone around the town the Asador Mayor will be waiting for him, he is the last of the rows and together they will run back to wake up the drummer and the quintos who have decided to go to bed, While the Zangarrón is warming up, the people are arriving at his house, where the mothers of the “quintos”, who have got up very early, have already prepared garlic soup for anyone who wants to try it, and the mother of the Zangarrón gives everyone a sweet and a drink, and the merriment begins inside and outside the house, The Zangarrón arrives and waits for the arrival of all the “quintos” and the drummer, everyone eats the soups, and with all the members of the function gathered and all the people in the street calling for them with a deafening noise of cowbells, they all go out into the street, rain, snow or thunder, nothing and nobody has prevented the Zangarrón from going out on the 26th of December. (If the Zangarrón lives in a house in the lower part of the town, he will dress in the house of another quinto to make the long journey down the street).

  • The rows are formed, the drummer is placed at the front and the Zangarrón, already with his mask on, makes himself heard, the person who has dressed him puts the finishing touches, the last stitches and adjustments to the costume and its complements, inside the costume the tension rises, the last Zangarrones approach the mask and give him their advice, fruit of the experience they lived in their day, he won’t pay any attention to them, he only listens to the roar coming from the street challenging him shamelessly and starts to remember those who have challenged him all this last month, to all of them he has promised him a race.
  • The dawn begins to break, the drummer begins to play and the dancers with their castanets and finally in the midst of the tremendous noise appears the one who will be the KING and KEEPER of the town all day long, THE ZANGARRON, the race and the provocations begin, there will be falls, blows, pushes, but who cares, the Zangarrón has to show what he is capable of this year, While the dancers dance down the “pasacalles” towards the four streets (lower part of the town), the Zangarrón will do the same as the day before on the eve of the festival to keep the rows clean of the young people, helped by the Asador Mayor who will be dancing armed with a vergajo to “clean” the rows of people while the Zangarrón separates from them.
  • The rest of the people of the town who have not got up early enough are there waiting to join the celebration, immediately the long line is formed and the first dance called the “baile del niño” (dance of the child) begins. In this first dance of the child the dancers will dance making the bow to the drummer and the Zangarron will follow protecting the line that will be harassed with more intensity. Once the child’s dance has finished in the four streets and without stopping for a minute, the quintos go out to ask for Easter house by house, each one in their own way, everyone knows the part of the town that corresponds to them and will leave immediately while the people entertain the Zangarrón for a few minutes, as they will make sure that the Zangarrón does not catch them so as not to be left without the Christmas bonus in exchange for some “vergajazo”, the Zangarrón will go through the whole town accompanied by the kids who will be delighted to go with the Zangarrón stopping house by house to collect the tip that the neighbours have already prepared.
  • Once the dancers have finished their journey they arrive at the place prepared for the banquets of the performance (a garage, a cellar or a large room) where the mothers have already prepared lunch for them, eggs with chorizo, the last to arrive is the Zangarrón, the last one to arrive is the Zangarrón, who will take off his mask to rest by the fire so that his temperature changes as little as possible. There he will rest with the drummer until the youngsters who have also been having lunch in the cellars arrive again to pick them up to accompany them to the Plaza Mayor to attend the mass, On this route, which is also played and danced in the “pasacalles”, the Zangarrón will not hit anyone, nor will anyone harass him too much, they arrive at the square and the whole town awaits them to enter the mass where all the members of the function will enter except the Zangarrón who will stay in the area of the square without stopping to trot escorted by the children who will not leave him alone for a moment.
  • Once the mass is over, the Saint (SAN ESTEBAN) is taken out in procession, the Bailonas take him out, and the rest of the dancers and the Zangarrón dance the “pasacalles” during the procession in front of the Saint without turning their backs at any time, so this dance is danced backwards. In the past this procession was along a route of several streets of the town and nowadays it goes around the square, Once the Zangarrón has finished this round, the Zangarrón with the stick and the bladders (pig’s bladders) will make a big circle in front of the Saint to dance the dance of the child, during this dance the people do not bother the Zangarrón, who will come out of the ranks only for the brave ones who show him money to challenge him, from this moment (after mass) all the money that the Zangarrón gets is for him, the money collected before mass is for the common fund of all the quintos, the rows in these dances after mass are also more respected so the dances are much more colourful for the spectators, this dance of the Child (SAN ESTEBAN nicknamed the CHILD) is danced in an area of the square facing the saint escorted by the drummer on one side and the town’s banner on the other side, the banner is held by a volunteer neighbour while the dance of the Child lasts, after this dance the banner is taken by the Asador Mayor, He will make the bows to the Saint and holding it for a few seconds shaking it from one side to the other a few centimetres from the ground and lifting it again repeating this bow three times while next to him the Zangarron will do the same in a burlesque way with the stick of the bladders simulating the same effort that he makes to the quinto with the Banner and bursting a bladder with a stomp in each bow, the people will thank this effort of the smallest quinto with a great ovation and shouts of encouragement.
  • Then the rows are formed again to dance facing the Saint and return him to the Church carried by the four Bailonas, then the four Bailonas join the rows and dance down the “pasacalles” to the door of the parish priest, there the two rows dance and the people in this dance no longer bother the dancers, it is then that the Zangarrón, who is already very tired, has to find the strength to do the races promised to those who challenged him, offering him a good tip if he catches them. These tips used to be fruits that the Zangarrón put in the bait box and that would be the dessert of the meal of the performance, When the dance was over, the parish priest invited the members of the function who had visited him a few days before to ask him for the Zangarrón mass, and all the other neighbours of the town, to a sweet and a glass of liquor.
  • Then begins the tour that formerly was by the small squares of the town dancing a dance in each of them, at present there is a dance at the door of each of the three bars of the town accompanying the people and taking advantage of the tour to take the morning vermouth in the bars is a unique occasion in the year for reunions as it is possibly the day that more immigrants from the town visit their families motivated by Christmas and the Zangarron that attracts a lot to those born in this town, The people will accompany the dancers who will protect the Zangarrón symbolically because nobody will disturb the quintos who will be able to show off comfortably dancing the four types of dance, (EL NIÑO, EL PASACALLES, LAS DOS FILAS AND EL ENTRECOSIDO), The latter is the same as the two rows but with a “Mayordomo” in the centre and he alone is in charge of picking up each dancer at each turn and taking him to the bow and returning him to his row, while in the two rows each of the “Mayordomos” is in charge of taking the dancers of his row to the bow.
  • The Zangarrón will be collecting tips from all the neighbours of the town and strangers who voluntarily thank the spectacle that the quintos of this year have offered them, everyone will have their photo taken with the Zangarrón.
  • Once the tour of the bars of the town is over, all the members of the function return, always dancing the “pasacalles”, to the locas of the meal of the function, where the mothers are waiting to feed them, the Zangarrón will be pampered by some mothers sitting by the fire, well tucked in, without a mask, the mothers of the quintos have already prepared the menu of the meal called the “MUTIS”, In this meal, which in the past was exclusive to the quintos, nowadays the quintas also participate, in this meal commanded by the drummer who will place the diners as he likes in order to have those he believes will give more “war” at hand, all will be isolated at a table which will not be approached by anyone other than the mothers to serve them the food. The drummer will place himself in the centre of the table armed with the Zangarrón’s vergajo, and once the first dish has been served, he will begin the meal of the MUTIS with the following phrase: COMUNICAMOS QUE NO VENGAN MAS

                                           QUE CON NOSOTROS BASTAMOS

                                                            “MUTIS “

  • From that moment on no one will be able to speak, a difficult task, as each one will try to provoke the silence to be broken, the drummer will punish anyone who speaks with his vergajo with an accurate whip in the back or wherever he can find him, as well as charging him the corresponding fine at the price he has stipulated beforehand, which will be doubled in the case of swearing or blasphemous words, this money collected at the Mutis meal, which each quinto will put out of his own pocket, will be used for the coffees and drinks that everyone will have together in the bars at the end of the meal, the quinto cashier (assigned by all at the meetings) will count with the mothers the money collected at Easter by everyone on the tour of the town together with the money collected by the Zangarrón before mass, this money will be used to pay for the banquets of these days and if there is any left-over it will be added to the takings from the box office of the Dance sessions, to pay the rest of the payments to the Drummer, musicians, renting the dance hall, etc. If there is any money left over, the quintos will then decide how it will be used, whether it will be distributed or if there will be an extra dinner. Whilst all the quintos go round the bars, stripped of their capotes and leguis, accompanied by the drummer, the Zangarrón will also go round the bars collecting the last tips accompanied by the youngsters who are proud to be next to such an illustrious character, who for them is the Zangarrón. When the tour of the bars is over, he will go alone to the Plaza Mayor at a trot, which at this point is more of a slow pace than a trot, There, as tradition dictates, he will go around the church three times, touching the wall with the stick and leaving the façade to the square he will make the sign of the cross with the stick, touching the ground and bursting the bladders that remain on the stick, ending the function of the Zangarrón, accompanied by some little boy who refuses to let it end, he will walk home to be undressed and rest, as he needs it.
  • The quinta will conclude with the last dance session that evening and will give way to the incoming quintos, who are already scheduled for their first meeting.


                    WHO WILL BE THE NEXT YEAR THE ZANGARRON? everyone asks.



This document was created by Mr. JOSE JAVIER SÁNCHEZ HERNÁNDEZ, and is no more than a brief summary of what this wonderful festival is, all of us who love this festival feel proud of the ZANGARRON and want it to last for many years to come. That is why we want it to last and with the help of all the people of Sanzole and those who are not from the town, this ancestral tradition will live on forever.

This web page has been created without any profit motive and financed by the companies of the town of SANZOLES and some other that is not of the town, it was created with the heart and with the affection that we all feel for SANZOLES and for the ZANGARRON, in no moment we thought that this project was going to leave for ahead, but here we are with effort and patience everything is obtained, here we leave you with much affection photos, documentation, forums, so that you enjoy this celebration that every 25 and 26 of December unites us all the people of Sanzoles.

We would like to thank all those people and companies who have supported us at all times so that this continues, so that this ancestral tradition will last and so that future generations will know how important the ZANGARRON is for the town of SANZOLES and for the rest of the WORLD. To all those people who are missing and who were important for this tradition wherever they are, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for having contributed with your presence to this tradition and know that we have never forgotten you, you will always have a place in this town and in this tradition.