Ready to experience a different Carnival?
You might be a Carnival and Festival’s freak. Whether you’d already partied hard in Rio de Janeiro’s Sambodromo, attended the Carnival Queens’ and Drag Queens’ Festival in Gran Canaria, got soaked wet and poor in the classical Venice festivities, joined the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans or dressed up in Summer for London’s Notting Hill Carnival I am pretty sure chances you heard about the Entroido in Galicia are close to none. Well, it is time to leave mainstream parties behind and uncover what the heck Galicians are doing during Carnival, why you should care and how to make it your next Carnival destination.
DON’TS OF ENTROIDO IN GALICIA
* Don’t expect it to be as something you have lived before, because you will be disappointed. Instead, go with the flow and enjoy everything that makes it different and special.
* Don’t get pissed if the weather forecast is not looking awesome. Galicia is so green and beautiful for a reason, it rains. A lot, sometimes. But here are the good news: Almost every celebration planned will be still happening rain or shine!
* Don’t over drink or take drugs. Here or anywhere else in the world, it’s just nonsense.
* Don’t carry a lot of stuff with you. Sometimes there might be tons of people surrounding you and the last thing you want to think about is how to keep your stuff safe. And this doesn’t mean you will be robbed but more like something could drop on your nice DSLR, someone could just land on your backpack, etc.
* Don’t miss Galician unique cuisine, especially during the Entroido celebrations. Every town has its own unique products for these days. Mostly involving cured meats and sweets but also many other dishes. Wine too, of course!
* Don’t say no. If you get invited to join a spontaneous party, go for it! When Galicians show some hospitality with you, they really mean it!
* Don’t break the bank. Very affordable for the European standards, everything from accommodation to transport could be cheaper than you expect.
DOS OF ENTROIDO IN GALICIA
* Do plan a road trip to check different celebrations that take part here and there. You won’t be able to visit all involved towns because pretty much every village will celebrate the Entroido but you will get an interesting taste while touring through this awesome land of ours!
Here are our top picks, 5 Entroidos you should definitely check out on your next visit:
1. VERIN, Ourense
Dating back from the 16th century, the masked figure called cigarron – which could be a mock of ancient tax collectors – is the main distinguishing character of this unique Entroido. Almost two weeks of celebrations, you don’t want to miss the Domingo Corredoiro – running Sunday – where dozens of cigarrons march through the main street hitting anyone that dares to stand in their way.
2. VIANA DO BOLO, Ourense
Attend the folions parade, held on Sunday, where boteiros and other characters take the streets preceded by different percussion – loud! – bands. This will be followed by the Festa da Androlla – Androlla party which consists of eating this dish made of cured pork meat, boiled potatoes and vegetables – and many others in one of the two indoor tents which can host up to 5000 people altogether.
3. LAZA, Ourense
Our favorite so far and highly recommended if you like getting messy for the sake of it.
The biggest day is Luns de Entroido, with A Farrapada and A baixada da morena as highlights. Both take part in the heart of Laza and when the first one happens in the morning and consists of people throwing dirty cloths to each other, the second one sees a huge ant descending to the main square surrounded by the most absolute madness I had seen in a long time around dusk. Flour, hyper-excited mid size living ants and dirt are all thrown everywhere and to everybody during some crazy and ecstatic 15 or 20 minutes before the battle ends and everyone continues partying white-faced in a more decent way with some live music. SO. MUCH. FUN!
4. COBRES, Pontevedra
Stylish and colorful, it couldn’t be more different from the previous one. Underage madamas and galans dance to a local band in every house of the neighborhood. Very few people attend this one and it is located near the sea so go for it if you feel like chilling after all the madness.
5. ANYWHERE ELSE!
Actually almost everywhere in Galicia, you will find Entroido celebrations. They might not date from past centuries but will be fun indeed. Like, for instance, Saturday night in Ourense!
Here are some other recommended ‘dos’ to have the time of your life while celebrating Entroido in Galicia.
* Do get ready for some serious celebrations. And we mean it. They might have been part of the region’s traditions for centuries, but having fun never gets old.
* Do pack a couple of costumes. The weirder, the better. You want to immerse yourself in there as the locals do, right?
* Do be polite and treat everyone respectfully, even if you are wearing a mask. There is a fine line between fun mocking, making fun of someone and being an assh*le. Do not cross it and you will enjoy a pleasant Carnival.
* Do think broader than Entroido and enjoy everything else Galicia has to offer. Outstanding nature, history, cuisine, and people are waiting for you everywhere!
* Do ask us any questions that might pop up in your mind in the comments below. We have lived here most of our lives and we’ll be happy to help you enjoy our traditions as much as we do!
Disclaimer: We were hosts of the Galician Tourism Board, during #Entroido2015 along with other bloggers, photographers, and journalists. In any case, all the opinions here are our own. What else can you say when you enjoyed this special Carnival so much?
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