To know when the Antroxu falls, you just have to take the calendar, locate Easter Sunday, which closes Holy Week, and count seven weeks ago. It has no loss. The immediate and visible precedent of the arrival of the carnival is still on Thursday of Comadres, a day in which women tend to meet with playful and / or reverend ends, charged, of course, with feminine complicity. In towns such as Gijón, Avilés or Pola de Siero, these meetings and invitations are still very popular, although this is a widespread "hangout" throughout Asturias.
In these days, prior to the defeat of Don Carnal and the reign during forty days of the austere Lent, the Asturians feel the impulse to change into new entities. Traditionally this metamorphosis was accompanied by profuse caloric dishes in the hardest stage of winter. Nowadays the gastronomic opulence of the Antroxu is also dictated by purely mundane matters that derive from tradition. In Carnival meat is eaten, preferably pork, meat that was formerly banned during the seven weeks of Easter that followed these profane celebrations.
A long time ago, the participants of the Antroxu painted their faces black with a burnt cork or soot. It was very cheap masquerades. Two holes were made in a cardboard, cloth or wood, like a mask and it was customary to disguise oneself as animals, using the skins of the cattle themselves. The most widespread at that time, however, were the scruffy ones, the probones or antroxes, of the ancestral genre of the guirrias and zamarrones who asked for the aguinaldo at the end of the year. It was very common to exchange sex when choosing clothes. The man in woman and the woman in man, a custom that was very criticized by the Church when considering it transgressor of the moral. The preferred musical instruments were cans, pans, cowbells, horns, whistles and turullos. Harsh and disrespectful rhythms that are still guessed today in the notes of the charangas.
The Antroxu in Asturias was forbidden long time. It was recovered with the arrival of the democratic city councils in the 80 years. Nowadays the carnival keeps the essence of its original antrox, although the forms and costumes have been refined. The desire to reverse the order of things that it brings with it continues to lead to "irrational" acts, exorbitant humor and folly. The irony, the satire, the coplas are especially evil against the public figures and their work.
Antroxu in Avilés
Some towns in Asturias are leaders in this disguise. In the three largest cities of the Principality, the "antroxeru" spirit of the entire autonomous community seems to have gathered. Avilés, Gijón and Oviedo live this festival with fervent vocation. In the 19th century, in the city of Avilés Two types of celebrations coexisted: the popular antroxu and the gallant carnival of the wealthy classes that took to the streets floats, decorated cars, costume dances, battles of confetti and serpentines in the style of Nice or Venice. On Monday of Carnival, it was the day reserved for the popular classes to take the town with their particular way of interpreting the Antroxu: grotesque costumes, battles of eggs and murgas.
At present, Avilés is the scene of the International and Fluvial Descent of Galiana Street. It consists of a tour of floats and gadgets of all kinds, decorated with certain naval motifs. The crew descend on the Saturday of Carnival the slope of this street Galiana. The way is filled with water and foam. From the wagons, water is thrown at the spectators and these, from the sidewalks and balconies, do the same against the participants.
Antroxu in Gijón
En Gijón the party officially begins on the night of Thursday of Comadres. Moment in which the name of the Sardine is announced, which leaves the Bay of Biscay every year to bathe in crowds. Since then and for six long days and nights, the Gijón carnival has the most extensive festive program in Asturias: Charangas competition, floats, dozens of cultural and recreational events for all ages and a popular burial of the sardine with the one that concludes everything and that of multitudinal form congregates to the gijoneses. In the Plaza Mayor the Sardine is killed, then a respectful wake is established, then the funeral procession, the reading of the testament of the ill-fated sardine and its burial until next year.
Antroxu in Oviedo
The Plaza de la Catedral, Calle de Trascorrales and other adjacent streets constitute the epicenter of the antroxu ovetense. The celebrations in the old Oviedo are always made the weekend following those of Avilés and Gijón. The hospitality sector joins the carbayón carnival, offering a special menu for the occasion: carnival pot. Numerous places serve this typical menu consisting of a good broth accompanied by a stew of cabbage, beans, potatoes and pork. Then come the desserts, being able to opt for the casadielles, the frixuelos or for the rice with milk. It is a strong menu, suitable in a few days where you need calories to consume to keep up.
Like Antroxu himself, the gastronomy that accompanies him extends to all corners of the Principality. In the western area is a typical dessert "rapón", a cake made of corn and kneaded with water, salt, onion and pieces of chorizo and bacon, covered with cabbage leaves and cooked in the oven. In the east carnival is seasoned with "boronas preñadas", a mass of compact corn, filled with sausages and slaughtered meats. The most widespread dessert in this area are the fritters filled with cream, or the rustidos, tasty pieces of bread soaked in milk and egg, fried and sprinkled with sugar.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com