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Antroxu
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crispu



Joined: 20 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:02 pm    Post subject: Antroxu Reply with quote

A finales del mes de febrero se celebra en Asturias, en realidad en toda España, el Carnaval. En Asturias lo llamamos "Antroxu". No se si es la primera vez que se habla en el foro de este tema y si conoceis la fiesta. Se celebra de diferentes modos incluso en días diferentes, dependiendo de la localidad, lo que si es común y fundamental son los disfraces y les ganes de pasalo bien!!!!

Hablásteis ya de les Comadres, los frixuelos, les picatostes, el Entierru la Sardina...? En definitiva del Antroxu
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Crispu
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Art
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2004 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He hecho una búsqueda (hay un botón para búsqueda en la cima de esta página) sobre aquellas palabras. Sólo Mouguias--en un poste apasionado y razonable sobre Asturias ser celta--han mencionado un o dos de estos términos, pero sólo de pasada (muy brevemente). ¡Yo gustaría aprender más!

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I've done a search (there's a button for search at top of this page) on those words. Only Mouguias--in an impassioned and reasonable post about Asturias being Celtic--have mentioned one or two of these terms, but only in passing (very briefly). I'd love to learn more!
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Mouguias



Joined: 18 Jun 2003
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Location: Asturies

PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, you know my stuff by now, I guess. I have been studying Asturian traditions for quite a long, focusing on the most archaical aspects of it and their remote religious meaning. So when I talk about Antroxu I will mention only the most outdated versions of it. OK?
Antroxu is only one variant of winter feasts. Most of the ceremonies held in that date could take place also in New Year, or even on the 1st of February (the ancient Celtic festival of Imbolc). All this depends on the municipality and the village.
During Antroxu, young men in the village (I mean it, NOT YOUNG WOMEN) paraded disguised with furs and white pants beneath. These parade had several different names, "guirrios" or "zamarrones", for example. These zamarrones bore long sticks in their hands, and cow-bells hanging on their backs. They ritmically walked and jumped, to ring their bells. They also made jokes on girls, and could (in jest, of course) beat on them with their sticks, or else spill ashes on their heads. In some versions, one of the lads was disguised as a woman dressed in white, bearing a broom and a sprig of holly.
Eventually, they reached the limit of the village in their parade, and then they defied their neighbours, jumping and ringing their bells. Then the rival band of zamarrones appeared, and they all fought until one of the bands was defeated and left.
They also made a bidding on every house of the village and made a public meal in the evening.
Every element on these traditions has a remote pagan origin. The closest equivalent of Zamarrones in the English speaking world is the "Morris dances". The Morris dancers, in England, bear also bells and are dressed in white, too. They perform a symbolical fight, and they do it on New Year or else on the 1st of May, in any case in an important day of the cycle of the sun, when the sun starts the cycle or else starts summer.
The idea is to expell bad ghosts with the noise of bells, in order to ensure a good harvest in the coming season. The fight represents the defeat of winter by the power of the sun god. This sun-god has in most European mythologies an army of young followers (the Berserker and the Curiles are two examples), that is why Zamarrones are only young men: this is their feast, they are the warriors of the sun.
Through the bidding and the meal, all the village participates in the feast, and the banquet might be some sort of offering, some sacrifize. The abundance of food tries to propiciate the abundance of the harvest.
The man disguised as a woman is our version of the gaelic Caellach, the old woman of Winter. Just as in Scotland, this old woman is related to holly. The broom is in the Scottish version a wand. In both cases, She uses it to bring snow to the Earth.
The Romans used to celebrate, on roughly the same date (15th of February) the Lupercalia, where a band of young men got drunk, then ran a race across Rome, while hitting girls with leather strips. You can read a depiction of it in Shakespeare`s Iulius Caesar. He explains the intention when doing this: those women who got beaten by the leather strips (or the sticks of the Zamarrones, or course) would see enhanced their fertility and bear more sons. It is obvious that all the feast is focused on the same, fertility, be it for the land of women`s wombs.
All these ceremonies vanished from Asturian culture sometime between 1880 and 1930. So bad.
Anyone interested on it can read "Las Mascaradas de Invierno en Asturias" from Eloy Gomez Pellon, a thorough account of all our variants.
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Art
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Mouguias. That is very interesting and you write quite well in inglés!

Do anyone know what caused the decline of these traditions?

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Gracias, Mouguias. Es muy interesante--¡y escribes muy bien en inglés!

¿Sabe alguien qué causó la disminución de estas tradiciones?
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Mouguias



Joined: 18 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2004 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>what caused the decline of these traditions?

I think the right question would be, how could these traditions survive for so long? I say, those people followed pagan rituals in earnest! Ritual fights, expelling bad ghosts, only 100 years ago, my God! That kind of thinking couldn`t survive in an industrialized world, a world that was leaving behind not only superstition, but even religion in a high degree.
Today, Asturian countryside is underpopulated and most traditions have vanished, simply because there are not people enough to support them. People watch TV and have given up telling folktales to each other. On the other hand, the old technology and crops were abandoned long ago, along with the tales and rituals that were related to them: weaving, milling and baking, washing in the fords, collecting sea-weed, picking medicine plants and so on. The "escanda" wheat and "asturcon" ponies are almost gone.
I guess that is progress
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Art
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mouguias, those are good points, all.

Bob and I have had a discussion about whether modern technology supports or destroys cultural identity. I tend to see it destroying cultural identity because technology aids in the spread of global culture (which I see as broader than American or even Western). The world as a whole may be more aware of Asturian music or cheeses, but overall, the experience of Asturians is a dilution of their regional and local culture. (Tell me if I'm wrong!)

In contrast, Bob thought this very forum was evidence of how technology can support cultural identity. [I hope Bob will correct me if I've got that wrong.] To a degree, that is probably true. Spending a lot of time on this forum, I do learn about and to a very limited degree participate in a specific culture, but it sure isn't the same as living a culture.

A person can only participate in so much culture (you'll only eat so many meals in a day, listen to so much music, speak so many words, look at so many pictures). As we partake of more and more pieces of the global culture, there is necessarily less room for pieces of our own culture.

You're probably right to link the decline of the old traditions to industrialization. I'd guess that efficiencies of large scale production made it profitable for goods to be shipped over long distances, and made it less likely that a region would be self-sufficient. With increasing contact with other cultures, a culture changes. The old ways are lost, for better or for worse.

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Mouguias, aquellos son puntos buenos, todos.

Bob y yo hemos hablado de si la tecnología moderna apoya o destruye la identidad cultural. Yo tiendo a verlo destruir la identidad cultural porque la tecnología ayuda en la extensión de una cultura global (que veo como más amplio que la americana o aún la cultura Occidental). El mundo en total puede ser más consciente de la música asturiana o sus quesos, pero en general, la experiencia de asturianos es una dilución de su cultura regional y local. ¡(Dígame si me equivoco!)

Al contrario Bob pensó el foro sí mismo es una prueba de la tecnología apoyando la identidad cultural. [Espero que Bob me corrija si no le represento bien.] Hasta un nivel es probablemente verdadero. Pasando mucho tiempo en este foro, realmente aprendo de la cultura asturiana y hasta cierto punto (muy limitado) participo en una cultura específica, pero seguramente no es lo mismo de vivir en una cultura.

Una persona solamente puede participar en tanta cultura (sólo comerá tantas comidas en un día, escuchará a tanta música, hablará tantas palabras, mirará tantos imagenes). Como tomamos cada vez más selecciones de la cultura global, hay necesariamente menos espacio para las selecciones de nuestra propia cultura.

Tienes probablemente razón unir la disminución de las viejas tradiciones a la industrialización. Adivinaría que la eficacia de producción de escala grande lo hizo provechoso para transportar mercancías sobre distancias largas. Por consequencia, es menos probable que una región sería autosuficiente. Con el contacto creciente con otras culturas, una cultura se cambia. Los modos viejos son perdidos, para mejor o para peor.
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Miguel Angel
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think there are other reasons for industrialization to destroy popular culture. First, it imply people from rural areas going to urban areas in order to get a job. If they want to integrate themselves in city live, they have to forget their old customes and habits and learn new ones, which causes the decline of folklore and popular culture. But high and middle class are interested in destroying popular culture because they see it as rude, violent, and uncivilized. That's the way the old merry England, the traditional English way of life, was finished in the middle eighth century. Since our industrialization came later, asturian traditions endured until twenty century. But, for instance, in early Twenty Centry, same writers claim at the local newspaper of Gijón for a "cultured" or "civilizated" carnival instead the popular one. They wanted parades and disguise contests instead the improvise disguises of low class people. There was some sort of violence, but that's Carnival. It is not easy to explain.
Nowadays there are other factors, mainly globalization, global comunications which make people to comportate in the same way. We watch the same tv program, the same films....There is no place to diversity.
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Art
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello, Miguel Angel,

What kinds of violence occurred in the old forms of carnival? Can you give us an example?

Interesting idea that middle and upper classes would want to modify the old ways so they would appear more civilized. Makes sense to me.

By the way, it's neat that you're so good at English! That helps our volunteer translators a lot. It would be helpful if you also include a copy of your message in Castellano so those who can't read English can also participate--and so our translators don't have to translate it back into Castellano.

saludinos, Art

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Hola, Miguel Angel,

¿Qué clases de violencia ocurrió en las viejas formas de carnaval? ¿Puedes darnos un ejemplo?

Es una idea interesante que las clases medias superiores querrían modificar los viejos tradiciones para que aparecerían más civilizados. Tiene sentido.

¡A propósito, es fenomenal que escribes inglés muy bien! Esto ayuda a nuestros traductores de voluntario mucho. Sería provechoso si también incluyes una copia de su mensaje en castellano para que los que no pueden leer inglés también puede participar. También hace que nuestro traductores no tienen que traducirlo al reverso.

saludinos, Art
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Mouguias



Joined: 18 Jun 2003
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Location: Asturies

PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*Eh.em!*
Nun ye por chufame, Art, pero si tornes al mio mensax de hai poco, has ver que n`elli falo de griesques ente zamarrones.
L`antroxu yera una folixa que valia munches vegaes pa entamala ente pueblos vecinos. Tamien ye verda que la cultura rural asturiana yera abondo guerrera, les griesques ya prindajes ente pueblos yeren abondo frecuentes tol anu. Dientro de cada un de los pueblos, los mozos andaben a ver quien yera mas fuerte engarrandose al baltu.
Hai una novela, pamidea perbona, que ta ambientada n`un pueblu de Llaviana nos diis cuando toes estes coses ainda taben enceses. Ye “La Aldea Perdida” d`Armando Palacio Valdes. Esti llibru ye una parodia de la Iliada, pero poniendo mozos llabradores nel llugar de los principes aqueos. Y la verda ye que nun ye una comparanza forciada, nun hai tantes diferencies nel xeito de camientar n`ambes cultures.
Tien razon Miguel Angel, la clas alta asturiana siempres fexo de menos la cultura llariega.

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*A-hem!*
I don`t want to put on airs, Art, but if you come back to my post, short ago, you`ll see that I mention in it some fights between “zamarrones”
Carnival was often used as an excuse to start fights between neighbouring towns. It is true also that Asturian culture in the countryside was certainly violent, fights and cattle raids were frequent between villages all year long. Into each village, young men often were competing as to find out who was the strongest, through “baltu”, that is Asturian wrestling. (notice that in Asturian, unlike English and Spanish, we have a specific word to mean cattle raid, that is "prindaje", which means it was indeed common)
There is a novel, a great one in my opinion, whith takes place in a Llaviana village in the days when all these things were still alive. The novel is “La Aldea Perdida”, from Armando Palacio Valdes. This book is a parody of Homer`s Illiad, but instead of Achean princes, the characters are Asturian young tillers instead. And it is remarcable that the comparison works, after all the differences between values and thinking on both cultures were not so great.
Miguel Angel is right, Asturian upper class has always despised our local culture
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Art
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's interesting, Mouguias. I understood the fights to be "ritual"--meaning "fake". I see now that some of these fights were for real, too.

I hear you to be saying that fighting and testing one's "warrior" abilities against others in your town and beyond is part of traditional Asturian culture, at least rural culture. Is that right? (Actually, that might be true here in the rural US, too. It seems right, but I'm not sure.)

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Eso es muy interesante, Mouguias. Entendí las peleas para ser "ritual" - significando que "fingen" más que matan o pelean. Veo ahora que algunas de estas peleas eran para verdadero, también.

Te oigo para decir que luchando y probando capacidades "de guerrero" contra otros en su ciudad y más allá es la parte de la cultura tradicional asturiana, al menos la cultura rural. ¿Era así? (En realidad, podría ser verdadero aquí en los regiones rurales de EU, también. Parece correcto, pero no estoy seguro.)
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Mouguias



Joined: 18 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>I understood the fights to be "ritual"--meaning "fake

My mistake, I guess. Remember I am not a native speaker Wink I was meaning the zamarrones followed a rite to defy their enemies, it was not simply a casual fight

>>I hear you to be saying that fighting and testing one's "warrior" abilities against others in your town and beyond is part of traditional Asturian culture, at least rural culture. Is that right?

That is correct. Warrior culture had still another dimension, a collective one. Quite often each village solved its problems through some sort of tribal wars.
When my father was young this second aspect of war culture was still alive, and he told me about fights between our village and the neighbouring one, when one of our neighbours got beaten by one of them, it became a collective problem.

(la torna mangarela darreu, val?)
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Miguel Angel
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I talked about violence in old carnival I was referring mainly to the urban Carnival. It was not a dangerous violence,consisting mainly in throwing dirty water, rotten egg or flour to people faces. Since the last nineteen century also confetti was used. In the end, it was only a joke, but it was also violent because it altered the compulsory daily respect to neigbours, even if it was only one day a year. It is the real meaning of Carnival: breaking the routine, the daily social behaviour in orden to maintain it the rest of the year. But middle and upper class didn't undestand it, thinking it would alter society and wanted this tradition to disappear, or make it more "civilizated". For intance, they organized confetti battles as an event. That's all I can explain in English, for more details I should tell them in Spanish.
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Cuando hablaba de la violencia en el antiguo carnaval, me refería sobre todo al carnvaval urbano. Era una violencia inocua, consistente sobre todo en arrojar agua sucia, huevos podridos o harina a la cara de la gente. Desde finales del siglo XIX se usaba también confetti. Al final, era solo una broma pero era también violento porque alteraba el obligatorio respeto cotidiano al vecino, aunque fuera solo una vez al año. Es el verdadero significado del carnaval: romper la rutina, el comportamiento social diario para poder mantenerlo el resto del año. Pero la clase alta y media no lo comprendía y queria que esta tradición desapareciera o se hiciera más "civilizada". Así por ejemplo, organizaban batallas de confeti como espectaculo.
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Mouguias



Joined: 18 Jun 2003
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Location: Asturies

PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>Entendí las peleas para ser "ritual" - significando que "fingen" más que matan o pelean.

Seique`l fallu foi de mio. Nun te esqueiza que nun soi falante nativu Wink Yo deciate namai que los zamarrones siguien un ritu pa desafiar a los sos enemigos, nun yera una engarrada normal.

>>Te oigo para decir que luchando y probando capacidades "de guerrero" contra otros en su ciudad y más allá es la parte de la cultura tradicional asturiana, al menos la cultura rural. Es asi?

Ye asina. La cultura guerrera tenia ainda otra dimension, una colleutiva. Dacuando los pueblos iguaben los sos problemes al travies de dalguna clas de guerra tribal.
Cuando el mio pa yera mozu esti segundu aspeutu de la cultura guerrera taba ainda encesu, ya elli falome de les engarraes ente el nuesu pueblu ya`l del llau, cuando un de los nuesos vecinos llevaba una mallada de palos de los del llau, quedabemos toos ofendios.

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I`ve been thinking on this issue lately and remembered that, after all, ritual fights DO exist in European folklore. The Morris dances that I mentioned before are some sort of battle represented with sticks while two groups of dancers are facing each other. These sort of dances used to be very common all over the continent and were performed at times with swords (in Don QUixote you can find an accurate depiction of one of these).
In Asturias we have the Danza De Palos de Bimeda (Bimeda stick dance), which is held every year on St Peter`s day, june the 29th. I have studied it and my conclusion is, St Peter is in folktales quite the same as St.John (June the 24th) so this dance in Bimeda quite probably celebrates the beginning of summer, just as Morris dances in England are held on MayDay.
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Tuvi pensando n`esti asuntu de poco pa aco ya alcordeme que, depues de too, les lluches rituales esisten nel folklor europeu. Les Morris Dances que fale d`elles antes son una triba de amarraza representada con palos, de la que se enfrenten dos garrapiellos de bailaores. Esta triba de dances taben perestendies per tol continente ya dacuando bailabenles con espaes (Nel Quijote atopase una semeya perguapa d`una de estes).
N`Asturies tenemos la Danza De Palos de Bimeda, que se entama cada ano per San Pedru. Yo tuvi estudiandola ya la mio conclusion ye que San Pedro nel folklor ye cuasique un xemelgu de San Xuan, asina que esta danza de Bimeda benseique ye pa celebrar l`empiezu del veranu, neto que les Morris Dances n`Inglaterra faciense el primeru de Mayu, empiezu del veranu nel calendariu celta.
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Art
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, both of your responses are very interesting.

This reminds me of the old "turn-about" days the Romans celebrated in which the lowly guy become king/emperor(?) for a short period. That's very much like the carnival's breaking the routine in order to maintain the social rules.

It's sort of comical that those who were on the top of the pecking order don't understand the usefulness of these traditions in maintaining their own privileged status.

Thinking about violence more generally, I'm reminded that many scholars have written about the subterranean violence in the US and Spanish cultures, particularly in our frontier and colonial histories. Perhaps the truth is that violence is a fact of all cultures, but we that we're often unaware of it unless we're the object of that violence.

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Muchas gracias, ambos de las respuestas son muy interesantes.

Me recuerda de los viejos días de cambio muy famosos de los Romanos en el cual un tipo humilde se hace el rey/emperador(?) durante un período corto. Esto se parece muchísimo a la rotura del carnaval de la rutina para mantener las reglas sociales.

Es cómico que los que estaban a la cúspide de la jerarquía no entienden la utilidad de estas tradiciones en el mantenimiento de su propio estado privilegiado.

Pensando en la violencia más generalmente, me recuerdan que muchos eruditos han escrito sobre la violencia subterránea en las culturas norteamericano y española, en particular en nuestras historias fronterizas y coloniales. Quizás la verdad sea que la violencia es un hecho de todas las culturas, pero que somos a menudo inconscientes de ello a no ser que nosotros seamos el objeto de aquella violencia.


Last edited by Art on Wed Feb 08, 2006 3:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bob
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interestingly--and perhaps significantly--the English phrase "Morris dance" was originally "Moorish dance." The connection with Asturias and Pelayo may be closer than we think.

Bob Martinez
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