|Galicia A Rapa das Bestas de Candaoso |
A Rapa das Bestas de Candaoso
Province: Lugo Region: A Mariña Occidental Municipality: Viveiro Parish: Sto. André de Boimente Place: Curro de Candaoso Description
From the top of these hills visitors can catch a glimpse of the Landro bay or inlet and beyond it Coelleira Island and Estaca de Bares. Here, during the early hours of the first Sunday in July, and after a traditional breakfast consisting of garlic soup, the horsemen begin to round up the wild horses to tame them in the paddock where they are then branded, their manes cut and domesticated in an impressive struggle. The festivities continue until night falls over the hills.
around 1st week in July Carnaval de Verín Galicia town of Verin15th February Location
Province: Ourense Region: Verín Municipality: Verín
This town in the province of Ourense is the epitome of the Galician carnival. Famed for its waters and wines, it stands on the banks of the River Támega . This festival reveals the towns respect for tradition but also its love of liberty and the imaginative creativity of the modern age, irony and the peculiar sense of humour known as retranca that characterise Veríns carnival costumes. The call for all the residents to join in, the famous Fai Antroido, is symptomatic of these festivals, one of the major dates on the festive calendar. The Cigarróns, the masked figures typical of the Valley of Monterrei, seen by ethnographer Taboada Chivite as a mockery of the tax collectors sent out by the Counts who lived in the castle and ruled over the area. Gastronomy is an essential element during this period. Local delicacies include cachucha (pork head), androllas (cured pork meat), Galician stew and desserts such as orellas and filloas, all washed down with the local wines that are at their best at this time of year.
Carnival in Galicia, Spain
Feira do Cocido
Province: Pontevedra Region: Deza Municipality: Lalín Description
The region known as "País do Deza" forms a crossroads in the heart of Galicia, characterised by immense and shadowy oak woods. Its inhabitants are the proud custodians of their local traditions, centred around fairgrounds, sanctuaries such as the shrine to O Corpiño, and the stately manor homes of the nobility. They have all acted as sources of inspiration for illustrious figures that were born in this area. This festival, which pays tribute to the pig, called the "rei do pote" due to the fact that every part of the animal is used in local dishes, is held on the Sunday prior to the Entroido or Carnival celebrations, known as "Domingo de Corredoiro". The central event of this festival is the hearty Galician cocido, the authentic local stew, served up with traditional music and entertainment.
Festa da Arribada da Carabela PintaLocation
Province: Pontevedra Region: Vigo Municipality: Baiona Description
This town, characterised by vestiges of its medieval and Renaissance past, stands in a sheltered bay at the entrance to the Vigo inlet. A port worthy of royal favours in the past, its walls enclose the legendary Tower of the Príncipe de Monterreal, today converted into a Parador. Facing the Cíes Islands, Baiona is home to a monument commemorating the arrival of the Caravel Pinta, depicting the discovery, natives, treasures and first news from the New World. This event, which took place in 1493, is commemorated on the first weekend in March every year with a recreation of the Renaissance atmosphere in its cobbled streets: stalls and taverns offer their wares and crafts, together with exhibitions of ancient Galician seafaring traditions.
Dates: March 4th and 5th Festa da Empanada de Bandeira
Province: Pontevedra Region: DezaMunicipality: Silleda Parish: Manduas (San Tirso) Place: Bandeira, A
The Deza region is criss-crossed with ancient trails that remind us of the pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela and where the ancient Cistercian monastery of Carboeiro stands as proof of the splendour of the medieval period. Lands whose inhabitants retain all the culinary skills and know how of the inn keepers and friars of the past who offered their hospitality to pilgrims and mule drivers alike, and where the traditional pies were considered a delicacy by those following the Camino de Santiago. Proof of this is the pie festival held on the third Saturday in August, where visitors can sample the varieties of pastries, fillings and shapes on offer and that make up the typical Galician pies, first brought here by the Romans.
Carnaval de LazaLocation
Province: Ourense Region: Verín Municipality: Laza
The borough of Laza, a vertex stretching along the banks of the Támega and the slopes of the Hills of San Mamede and O Invernadeiro, is the proud custodian of traditional Galician festivities such as Os Maios and in particular the Entroido, or Galician Carnival. A time heralding the start of Lent and the arrival of spring, which for the farming world brings with it the colourful blossoming of nature and a period of sowing and planting. Groups of Peliqueiros liven up the towns streets and squares, dressed in their elaborate costumes that combine elements and rituals from the ancient, medieval and baroque periods. With their faces covered by a mask carved in wood, crowned by a semi-circle and decorated with totemic symbols, they follow the ancient rituals that have been passed down throughout the centuries. Running, jumping and shouting, they ring their bells in unison, lashing out with their whips at anyone who dares to cross their path. The festivities reach the heights of frenzy on the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. After mass the locals engage in a fierce flour and ant throwing battle, take part in parades, taste a special sponge cake called bica, and people dressed up as a bull named Morena run loose along the streets. The end of the festivities is marked by the Entierro de la Sardina (Burial of the Sardine).
Dates: 24th to 28th February
Feira do Bonito Location
Region: A Mariña Central
The discovery of the magnificent gold torque of Burela serves as a reminder that this fishing town, famed for its tuna fleet, was built on the site of an ancient fortified Iron Age settlement. Every year, on the first Saturday in August, Burela celebrates its Tuna Festival, a perfect way of showing off the real treasures of the sea has to offer, the many ways this fish can be prepared and the hospitality that is the hallmark of this area of the Mariña Lucense that looks out onto the open Cantabrian Sea.
Festa da Androlla e Carnaval
Province: Ourense Region: Viana Municipality: Viana do Bolo
These mountainous lands, bordering on the province of Zamora, preserve the essence of their age-old traditions. Proof of this is the parade of foilones, held on Carnival Sunday, when groups of masked figures from each parish walk through the streets to the accompaniment of deafeningly loud percussion instruments. One of the typical masks is the "boteiros", an exotic looking mask crowned by a large wreath of flowers that has its roots in ancestral rites, further adorned with elements brought back by emigrants from far-off countries. The culinary aspect of this festival centres on the "androlla" - pigs stomach stuffed with cured pork meat, an essential part of the local stew, served with "cachelos" (boiled potatoes) and turnip top greens.
Dates: 26th February
Festa da Ostra Location
Parish: Santiago de Arcade
Arcade lies at the mouth of the River Oitavén where it flows into the Verdugo at the point known as Salto do Inferno. The river continues under the historic Sampaio Bridge, where the heroic soldiers fought out their battles for independence from the French with their wooden cannons. The waters eventually flow into the renowned Bay of San Simón, complete with its island that was the source of 14th century songs of friendship. The sea around Vigo and the Rande Straits played witness to the galleons and their treasures in the 18th century, a source of fascination to Captain Nemo, fruit of the imagination of Brittanyborn writer Jules Verne. It is here that the delicious pearly oysters are bred, whose virtues are extolled by the town of Arcade de Soutomaior on the first weekend in April. The perfect time of year to enjoy the unique taste of this delicacy produced by a sea rich in history and poetry, with the sole accompaniment of the tangy juice of a lemon. Visitors come back year after year to enjoy the wealth of history and flavours to be found in Arcade and its ancient roads, guarded over by the Chapel of Peneda and the castle that once belonged to that fearsome 15th century landlord, Pedro Madruga de Soutomaior.
April 1st and 2nd
Festa da Troita
Parish: Ponte-Caldelas (Santa Eulalia)
This loyal townis inextricably linked to water with its hot springs and spa resort standing on the banks of the Oitavén and Verdugo Rivers with their picturesque beaches. This town was already well established in the 12th century as a stopping place for mule drivers on their way from the coast of Vigo to Montes and Suido. Many of its inhabitants emigrated to Latin America, particularly Brazil, whose influence can be seen in the beautiful Indiano style houses. In season, this town also offers some of the finest game, fish and traditional dishes available. The crystal clear waters of its Rivers reflect the greeny beds, from which the Verdugo takes its name. This is an anglers paradise, a practice that has always been popular throughout Galicia. The last weekend in May sees the International Angling Competition, attracting many of the finest anglers, and the Trout Festival offering the full range of recipes, ranging from the simplest forms of preparation to the more elaborate and sophisticated nouvelle cuisine.
May 27th and 28th
Festa de Exaltación do Marisco
Region: O Salnés
Municipality: Grove (O)
Parish: Grove, O (San Martiño
Held on the second Sunday in October, coinciding with the Pilar holiday period. This town stands between the inlets of Arousa and Pontevedra, just beyond the vast beach and sanctuary of A Lanzada, in the borough of Sanxenxo, a place of pilgrimage for sterile women who bathe in the "nove ondas" (nine waves of the sea). Here the Peninsula of San Vicente looks out onto the Island of Sálvora, as recorded in the traditional song: " ¡Ai Salvora, Ai San Vicente...as nenas bonitas hainas en...!" Not to be missed is a visit to the spa-island of A Toxa, an essential reference in the history of tourism in Galicia. Nor must visitors to this festival leave without sampling the wide range of shellfish on offer, proof that this is a region of exceptional delicacies, washed down with the wines of the "Rías Baixas".
Dates: October 6th to 15th Galicia - Holiday Jewel of North Western SpainAn extremely wide variety of tourist accommodation can be found in Galicia and Northern Spain. Visitor accommodation can be found to fit all tastes and even the choosiest customer will find something to suit their needs.
If you want something slightly different then most people would head for one of the various exclusive hotels throughout the region or one of the “Paradors” that can be found in various key places throughout the area. Good accommodation can be found also in some of the various mountain refuges where the stunning views complement the high standard of the accommodation but also for those looking for a beach holiday on a budget there are lots of campsites to be found in the coastal areas.
As expected the hotels in Galicia and Northern Spain are extremely spacious very clean and comfortable. Hotels are categorized and awarded stars by the regional tourist authorities. The local tourist Authority awards between one and five stars for each hotel and the status of the hotel can be found by looking at a blue plaque near the hotel door.
You can usually find en-suite bathrooms or at least a shower in each Hotel bedroom. Hostels and “Pensions” usually do not have en-suite facilities and have fewer comforts than hotels so as to be expected are slightly cheaper.
Don't equate the number of stars on the outside door of the hotel to necessarily match the standards of the accommodation that is on offer and this is because in Spain the stars are allocated on the facilities on offer not necessarily the quality of the service. The more exclusive hotels offer all kinds of extra facilities, such as air conditioning, on-site parking, internet-access and rooms with televisions as well as facilities for the disabled.
It is advisable to plan in advance when you want to come to this area because as you would expect, prices and rates can vary on the season or time of year that you choose to visit. A popular option available in all of the autonomous regions of northern Spain are hostels (hostales) and guest houses (pensiones) which are cheaper than hotels. These are usually small family-run establishments offering just a few beds.
It is estimated that there are approximately 92,000 registered beds in this territory, described as “Green Spain” and there are in excess of 1500 hotels.
The largest hotel chains in the area are called Grupo Sol-Melia and NH. The standard of accommodation in these hotels is extremely high. Latterly there have been a growing number of smaller privately run hotels that offer memorable relaxing accommodation available.
In Spain they have dotted throughout the country a series of state run hotels that are known as Paradors. These are classified from between three to five stars. Spain's first Parador opened in 1928 and now there is a wide network of them throughout the country. The idea behind the hotels when they were setup was that there should never be more than one day's drive from one Parador to another. The best known Parador in the area is the Parador de los Reyes Catolicos in Santiago de Compostela and this is in a former royal hunting lodge. Other Paradors can be found in monasteries, castles and other monuments. You will quite often find that there are a growing number of purpose built Paradors and these can quite often be found in either towns of historic interest or areas of spectacular scenery.
A Parador might not necessarily be the best hotel in town, but it can be counted to deliver a predictably high level of comfort. The standard of each Parador is extremely consistent with comfortable and spacious bedrooms all furnished to the same high standard. Quite often you will find that they offer outstanding samples of regional cuisine. |If you plan to tour in high season or to stay in the smaller Paradors, it might be wise to reserve the room. Bookings can be made either using the Central de Reservas which is a centrally based service based in Madrid or you can contact each Parador direct. As with most areas if you travel in the high season you will find accommodation can be quite expensive but if you are able to shop around you can quite often find special deals available
Rúa Sol, s/n - Edificio Sol - 15003 La Coruña (A Coruña)
Tel. +34 981184344 Fax +34 981184345 www.turgalicia.esGalicia
Ourense Fetivals, Carnivals and fiestas
Ourense probably has fewer festivals than the other three Galician provinces and this almost certainly has more to do with its geographical size than anything else. That said, many of the fiestas that it does have are highly colourful and in particular those involving the "peliqueiros".
Below is a list of Ourense’s best known festivities. The first three carnivals on this list all feature a set of characters unique to Ourense called the "peliqueiros", so here is a bit of information about them.
Peliqueiros, Cigarrons and Boteiros
The "peliqueiros" (known as Cigarrons in the town of Verin and Boteiros in the area of Viana do Bolo) are a collection of carnival and fiesta characters that appear in the Ourense festivals of "Xinzo de Limia", "Viana do Bolo", and the fiestas at "Laza" and " "Erin". These characters appear during carnival time or "entroido" and take to the streets to the accompaniment of loud music, usually in the form of drums and percussion.
The "peliqueiros" are highly colourful and immediately recognizable through the bright distinguished costumes and elaborate masks that they wear. The exact history of these festival characters has been long since forgotten, but they are mythical, possibly connected to farming celebrations and encompass customs that go back to the medieval and Baroque periods. The masks that they wear are carved of wood and then painted and differ in appearance across the different towns of the province. During the "entroido", the "peliqueiros" run around town and make as much noise as possible, some may bang on a drum, others may have bells attached to them. The masks that they wear may be humorous and amusing or, as in the case of the quot;boteiros", quite sinister and frightening. People travel from all over Galicia to see fiestas featuring the "peliqueiros".
The "entroido" carnivals take place in Lent or the commencement of spring.
Other Ourense Festival activities
In addition to the masked characters described above, Ourense’s festivals also center around food and drink and some of the festival activities you may encounter include: Dressing up as a bull called a ":Morena":, eating a pigs stomach stuffed with pork known as ":Androlla": and having flour throwing fights. The activities are all light hearted, but do have some symbolic meaning, although in many instances this has been lost in the past.
A list of Ourense Fiestas
Xinzo de Limia
Fiesta de la Androlla y Carnaval (viana de Bolo)
The Carnival de Laza
The Carnival deVerin
Feria exposicion de exaltacion del vino de O Ribeiro (Ribadavia)
Fiesta del pimiento (A Arnoia)
Fiesta del pulpo (O Carballino)
Festa da Istoria (Ribadavia)
Romaria de A Sainza
Carnaval de CobresPontevedra Dates: around 25th to 28th February
CarnivalTown of Vilaboa
This borough leads on to the O Morrazo peninsula. It is crowned by Xaxán Hill and Castiñeiras Lake, with roads leading to neighbouring Moaña. Its parishes look out onto the bay and San Simón Island and the Rande Straits, and preserve many customs related to the medieval seafaring tradition. The Carnival celebrations include rituals, elaborate costumes, dancing, singing and music, as well as the traditional "galáns e galanas" - traditional figures from the Entroido celebrations in Cobres. Initiation rites and games to test the skills of the younger inhabitants all combine to herald the blossoming of spring.
Dates: around 25th to 28th February
Carnival Corpus Christi (Ponteareas) Location
Province: Pontevedra Region: O Condado Municipality: Ponteareas Parish: Ponteareas (San Miguel) Postcode: 36860
A fertile valley running along the banks of the River Tea, lying between the Paradanta and Galleiro Hills, in the region of O Condado, and rich in archaeological remains from various periods. This is a land that is home to fine musicians and curious traditions such as that of the Bridge of los Remedios, related to easy childbirth, or the animist cults inspired by the huge crags of A Picaraña. The areas bestknown festival, Corpus Christi, is held during the weekend following "Corpus Christi", and is famous for its elaborate floral carpets. This is a delicate and sadly ephemeral art form, whose intricate multicoloured and geometrical shapes are the result of a whole nights work in which the whole town is involved, in readiness for the solemn procession at noon the following day.
Festa "da Istoria" en RibadaviaLocation
Province: Ourense Region: O Ribeiro Municipality: Ribadavia
Ribadavias historic centre - above which stand the ruins of the castle of the Sarmiento family -, famed for its Jewish quarter with its sturdy houses and arches, is the setting on the last Saturday in August for an exceptional festival that recreates the traditional Jewish atmosphere. This town, which also organises a Drama Festival, knows how to get the best out of its costumes and playacting, recreating an authentic medieval environment. The maravedí is the only legal tender accepted in the streets where craftsmen display their wares and where we can all too easily come across noblemen, guilds, winemakers, puppeteers, the "irmandiños" ( bands of peasants), and even executioners... The local taverns exude a special atmosphere that brings the capital of the Ribeiro region to life.
A Rapa das Bestas de Sabucedo
Province: Pontevedra Region: Tabeirós-Terra de Montes Municipality: Estrada (A) Parish: Sabucedo (San Lourenzo) Place: Sabucedo
The first weekend in July. It takes place in Terra de Montes, rich in archaeological remains, particularly petroglyphs - prehistoric stone carvings depicting spirals, astral symbols, animals and hunting and taming scenes, such as those on display in the neighbouring borough of Campo Lameiro. Herds of wild horses and cows move freely around these open lands, which are also ideal for hunting and fishing. Everything is connected to the ancient fiesta of the "Rapa das Bestas", where the paddock or "curro" becomes the focal point in the struggle to tame the wild horses, the essence of speed, sun and life that are said to have been "fathered by the wind".
July 1st and 2nd
Carnaval de Xinzo de Limia Location
Region: A Limia
Municipality: Xinzo de Limia
This borough is located on the road from Ourense to Zamora, on the site of the former Antela Lagoon, the source of the legendary River Limia, known since ancient times as the "Río del Olvido" (River of Oblivion). Together with its neighbouring boroughs it forms a unique itinerary to be followed during the Entroido or carnival time: the "Peliqueiros" in Laza; the "Cigarróns" in Verín; the "Boteiros" in the area around Viana do Bolo or Manzaneda and in Xinzo itself the "Pantallas" who take control of the streets. They can all be clearly distinguished by their costumes and masks, which have been added to throughout the ages but whose origins have long been forgotten, although they are known to be closely linked to the farming celebrations that herald the coming of spring.
Dates: 24th to 28th February
Corpus Christi (Redondela)
Parish: Redondela (Santiago
A Eucharistic festival that was particularly popular in seafaring towns and villages and during the Renaissance period, combining the rituals of the medieval guilds with even more ancient elements in the traditional dances. This is the day when the young locals parade around the streets with Coca, a mythical dragon out to capture the prettiest girls in the town. They form the head of the Corpus procession, and behind them come the giants and giant-headed characters, and other fictional figures from the tales told by travellers on their way eastwards, re-creating the essence of a paratheatrical formula in the town. On leaving the church and coming to the crossroads, they stage a Sword Dance in the presence of the Holy Sacrament, accompanied by gaiteiros, (pipers), followed by the Dance of the Penlas - adult women dressed in white who dance round in a ring with young girls balancing on their shoulders. The Holy Sacrament makes its way in procession around the town, followed by the fourteen parish crosses, walking on the floral carpets painstakingly created by the local inhabitants the night before and which decorate the cobbled streets. The air is heavy with incense and the music of the regions famous bands and pipers, and as night falls there is a spectacular fireworks display.
Feira Exposición do viño de O Ribeiro
Region: O Ribeiro
Parish: Ribadavia (San Domingos) | Postcode: 32400
The date of this fair varies, although it is normally held in early May, on a site boasting the stately homes of the nobility and churches with charming towers as well as the more humble dwellings of the winemakers. Ribadavia is imbued with the very essence of the local " ribeiros", and particularly those that lived on the banks of the Avia, the river that flows between the terraced vineyards or "socalcos" where the grapes of the Pazos de Arenteiro, Leiro and Beade ripen, on its way to join the Miño in Ribadavia. The city grew up around the Sarmiento family castle, and boasts a Jewish quarter complete with ancient wine cellars, a cool freshness and something of a pagan sanctuary and authentic local associations. This wine festival is a display and exaltation of the very finest wines produced by the famous vineyards along the riverside such as Barbantes, Razamonde, Ventosela, Esposende, Castrelo, A Arnoia, San Cristovo, Beade, Leiro, Beiro, San Clodio, Riobó, Gomariz, Pazos de Arenteiro, Varón, etc.
April 28th to 1st May
Festa da Faba
Region: A Mariña Central
History and myth converge in these lands to tell us of the Lord of Tierra de Campos and Galicia and founder of the Monastery of San Salvador (that houses relics kept in a Paleochristian sarcophagus), known locally as the Holy Count, or of a wizard in the style of writer Alvaro Cunqueiro, Pardo de Cela, Lord of Frouxeira, a popular marshal betrayed, or of Fernando de Casas Novoa himself, the architect whose dress rehearsal for the Obradoiro façade of Santiago Cathedral is to be found in the parish church of Santa María de Valdeflores. This valley, lying amongst the foothills of the mountain range, is a crossroads at which we can choose to move on to the coast, the central plains of Lugo or the mountains. And it is here where, on the first Sunday in October, a festival and fair are held to pay tribute to this product that is highly valued and appreciated throughout Galicia, an essential ingredient for its stews, casseroles and compango (cured meat and sausages), thought by some to be the way to true friendship.
October 7th and 8th
Festa da Troita
Region: A Mariña Oriental
Municipality: Pontenova (A)
Wooded lands in which the wizard Merlin himself would feel at home, areas devoted to livestock and the forestry industry lying just after Meira on the road from Lugo to Vegadeo and on the border with Asturias. The land has been marked by the limonite kilns, the old railway line and the former industrial areas that have long been silenced and today serve to remind us of what once was. This is the site of important fairs and the convergence of springs and streams that flow down to the Eo, and an ideal spot for fishing. The Trout Festival takes place on the first of May, where visitors can enjoy this gastronomic delight whilst admiring the finest arts and crafts the region has to offer.
Festa das San Lucas
Region: A Mariña Central
Located between A Terra Chá and the area known as the Mariña Lucense, on the road to Ribadeo and Asturias. It was once one of the seven capitals of the Ancient Kingdom of Galicia, and a bishops seat with Romanic cathedral included, and today a living museum of the past. The town has close connections with a famous 15th century figure, Marshal Pardo de Cela, and the famous Conciliar Seminar of Santa Catalina, which became a focal point for this city that was to be the birthplace of musicians such as Pascual Veiga and writers such as Álvaro Cunqueiro. Yet this town is equally famous for its delicious almond tarts. The fairs and festivals are celebrated on the days leading up to and around 19 October, the highlight of which is the famous horse market that attracts the inhabitants of the A Mariña and the surrounding hillsides. It provides a perfect backdrop to show off the finest arts and crafts on offer in the province of Lugo and the whole of Galicia.
Festa de San Benitiño de Lérez Location
Parish: Lerez (San Salvador
This popular "romería", in honour of the saint referred to in local poems as the "santo máis milagreiro" (the most prolific of miracle workers), is held every 11th July in the more modest quarters of Pontevedra. San Benito has enjoyed tremendous popularity amongst the Galician people since the Later Middle Ages, which spread thanks to the major Cistercian monasteries built in Galicia. Worhsippers pray to this saint in the hope that he will rid them of their ailments, particularly warts. Lérez is the site of a former Benedictine monastery, and a shrine built on the banks of the River Lérez that houses the small image of the saint. Devotees pass under the altar and dip their fingers in the oil lamp which is claimed to have "miraculous" powers.
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