El Guirria and the aguinaldo in Ponga

A new year of legend

The new year of spontaneous romanticism is dyed. The mythological hooded: half "trasgu", half carnival character is making his own with women: he hugs them, achucha, kisses them with total impunity.

Arrived from all parts of the Asturian geography, an enthusiastic public follows the theatrical work of this capricious and uninhibited love.


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He puts on his mask and then the legend returns to the council of Ponga, to San Juan de Beleño. Escorted by men on horseback, the "Guirria" is an almost invulnerable character, a "superman" for the new year that begins.

The role is interpreted by a young man from the council who will kiss the girls he meets in his path and who will throw ash and give sticks to anyone who prevents him. The aguinarderos they are asking for the houses on the backs of their lustrous horses, accompanying the Guirria in their ghostly incursion through the streets of San Juan.

Tell the oral tradition that a few decades ago, the mischievous leprechaun elf - who is embodied every year in a single boy whose identity remains anonymous - had no qualms about tearing down partitions, removing crystals or forcing doors to find the hidden girls. The story is told of a "guirria" that ended its meat in a massacre of "adobu" after stepping on the false plank of a loft.

And all for love… In Beleño, infinite theories about this legend are elaborated. Some argue that it embodies what sociologists call a "rite of passage." «They represent the world of agricultural and livestock relations; the ritual of the mating, the fertility, the reproduction and the creation of the wealth ”, defends Angel Mato, native of Beleño and professor of History. Others simply conjecture that it is an ancient formula for wooing.

Be that as it may, around midday of the New Year, the Guirria retinue and the riders of the aguinaldo depart from San Juan de Beleño towards the Cainava district. There begins his diablesca route by Beleño. When you get to Cainava, enter all the open houses and kiss all the girls you can. In all homes they offer you to eat and drink and become his accomplices. They are also hospitable with their riders, who sing couplets with wishes of happiness for all the neighbors.

An unrepeatable day for those who embody the legend and those who support it as spectators. When the night falls, the superman detaches himself from his white mask, from his beard, from the cone he wears as a hat, from his suit ... from his baton, and all the strength of the myth is thus left without a body to move it. It will be until next year. Always on January 1, that day in which in addition to hangover, many are those who have the full assurance that better times will come, at work, in health ... and also in love.

Photo report: J. Pandal and Xosé Ambas

Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com


coordinates Latitude: 43.1890030 Length: -5.1643038
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