A year of “transition” in the Carnival of Ourense




Carnival in Galicia, for many, is not just another party. It has nothing to do with the great parades that are held in other cities in Spain and exuberant costumes. It is enough to approach the province of Orense, where carnival is a “feeling” own that goes beyond any festivity and whose celebrations extend through many rural areas.

After a practically blank year, that of 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the exception of specific acts, the municipalities that make up the ‘magic triangle’ of the Galician carnival –Xinzo de Limia, Verín and Laza– prepare to celebrate their “most atypical” carnival, with a common link, such as recovering one of the most deeply rooted traditions in the province, which they care for with care.

And it is that the Galician carnival for these areas goes beyond any tradition.

“This year it’s time to dress up as a Screen, you have to throw it out,” says Suso Fariñas, a member of the A Screen Association -a group that works to preserve tradition by instilling respect for the central character of Xinzo’s Entroido-, and that after the coup suffered last year this year he hopes to recover sensations.

Not even the Franco regime, although it tried, managed to put an end to this festival, despite the fact that in 1937 the Government decided to suspend “the carnival festivities at all”. Already then, the spirit remained, as it could and it also came out in secret, in the rural areas of Galicia. Nor have the limitations of the coronavirus managed to completely stop this celebration, and even last year some group secretly took to the streets and individually, even highlighting the presence of the Civil Guard. Fariñas, who has been dressing up as a Screen for several decades, seeks this year to compensate for the “stolen entroido” of last year, whose celebrations were limited to the interior of the houses.

At the moment and with an eye on the evolution of the pandemic, the municipalities of the ‘magic triangle’ of the province of Ourense are finalizing the preparations, again marked by the suspension of major events in light of the epidemiological situation. There will be no programmed celebrations like the ‘Thursday of Comadres’, in Verín; the ‘Fareleiro’ or the Petardazo, in Xinzo; nor the ‘brunette’, in Laza. Similarly, orchestras and concerts have also been excluded to avoid crowds. In this way, the party will be limited to brass bands and individual costumes.

The protocol approved by the Xunta de Galicia does allow parades and dances as long as each of the municipalities adopts all the necessary measures to guarantee the correct use of the spaces in which they are developed. In addition, it is mandatory that the safety distance between people and the use of masks be respected at all times, both for participants and for the public.

Despite everything, the mayors of these towns advocate “prudence” and “responsibility” in their celebrations. The mayor of Xinzo, whose town is recognized by the international carnival, Elvira Lama, has stressed that this year there will be “a transition entroido”, with mostly “daytime” events. In fact, the brass bands will only be able to act until 11:00 p.m. with the idea of ​​avoiding that knock-on effect. “This year there will be a change but in a different way,” explains Lama, who defends this “transition” year and the need to adopt this type of measure, “even if we don’t like it”, to avoid risks.

A similar situation is experienced by the Verín City Council, which is also committed to “A local and different carnival”, without parades or massive acts. Meanwhile, in Laza, the third vertex of the magic triangle, a few days ago they confirmed the suspension of the riots and of Boralleiro Monday with the descent of the Morena, as it had been celebrated until now, although that does not mean that some decide to celebrate it indefinitely. individual way.

“Very excited”

Despite the current restrictions, the residents face this edition with some relief, which this year will have the presence of Cigarrones, Peliqueiros and Screens, among many other characters that dot the entire province. “Carnival means transgression, there will be carnival”, these locations coincide. And although it is not everything they would have wanted, the municipalities are “very excited and wanting to get all that feeling out.”

For these towns, these ancestral characters represent “the authority of the entroido”, explains Xacobo García, a member of the Laza carnival commission and the cultural association enLAZAdos, who clarifies that although “there are many entroidos”, it differs from others in the way to live it.

In fact, Laza’s entroido commission advances that «Yes, there will be more introido than last year», yes, avoiding massive events or orchestras. The slogan is to avoid a call effect, so there will be no distribution of bica and cap or concerts. “Yes, the Peliqueiros and the brunette are going to come out,” although it is not yet known how.

“Logically this year, we are going to try to meet and go out, even if it is in small groups,” says García, who confirms that people “want to get rid of the thorn” from last year. In this town they are clear that “an entroido without Peliqueiro, Testament and brunette is not conceived as the entroido in Laza”, he adds.

Less optimistic is Juan Carlos Castro, president of the O Cigarrón de Verín association, who believes that, without orchestras, parades or brass bands, this year is again a “rare entroido” and, in fact, it is already focusing on 2023 to put on the suit again as it deserves. “Being Cigarrón is a pride, a feeling, you carry it there since you were born”, he concludes.

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