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Navalvillar de Pela (Municipality, Extremadura, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-10-24 by ivan sache
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Flag of Navalvillar de Pela - Image by Ivan Sache, 16 March 2020

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Presentation of Navalvillar de Pela

The municipality of Navalvillar de Pela (4,424 inhabitants in 2019; 25,120 ha; municipal website) is located 150 km east of Badajoz and 40 km north-east of Villanueva de la Serena. The municipality is made of the town of Navalvillar de Pela and of the villages of Obando (220 inh.) and Vegas Altas (283 inh.).
Navalvillar de Pela is named for nava, "a low, wet and marshy area"; villar, derived from "village", "a small settlement"; and "Pela", for the neighboring Sierra de Pela. The village wa sestablished in 1418 by a group of colonists coming from Trujillo.

Ivan Sache, 16 March 2020

Flag of Navalvillar de Pela

The flag (photo), standard (pendón) and arms of Navalvillar de Pela, adopted on 23 December 1987 by the Municipal Council and validated on 19 July 1988 by the Royal Academy of History, are prescribed by an Order issued on 18 October 1988 by the Government of Extremadura and published on 27 October 1988 in the official gazette of Extremadura, No. 86, p. 1,272 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Field green. Diagonally, from the viewer's left to right, a white stripe, in width 1/4 the flag's width. Charged in the center with the municipal coat of arms.
Standard: Field green. Diagonally, from left to right, a white stripe, in width 1/4 the flag's width, surrounded by a St. Catherine's wheel or and a tau cross of the same, placed as on the coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Per fess, 1a. The arms of the town of Trujillo (Cáceres), 1b. Azure a fountain argent inscribed with the numbers "I" and "MCDXVIII" sable a lightning or, 2. Vert a bend argent cantonned in chief by St. Catherine's wheel or and in base by a tau cross of the same . The shield surmounted by a Royal crown open.

The second quarter represents the Lightning's Fountain, around which the village was originally established.
The third quarter recalls the town's patron saints, St. Catherine of Alexandria, represented by her martyr's wheel, and St. Anthony, represented by a tau cross (St. Anthony's cross).
The parish church is dedicated to St. Catherine. The St. Anthony's chapel, erected in the 18th century and partially ruined in the 1980s, is the former St. Catherine's church.

St. Anthony is celebrated in January; the Encamisá, aka St. Anthony's Race, held on St. Fulgency's night (19 February), is the festival's main event.
The Encamisá is said to remember an historical event, during which the villagers threatened by an Arab raid fooled the assaulters during the night, making noise, ringing bells, beating drums and riding horses to appear like a big army. To increase their visibility and look bigger as they were, the riders wore big white shirts (camisa). It is more probable, however, that the festival is based on old pagan rituals "re-used" after the Christian reconquest.
[Official website]

Ivan Sache, 16 March 2020