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May 2013

Customs and traditions of Boiro and Galicia


San Ramon's Festival Every 31 of August, San Ramon attracts thousands of curious people to one of the most successful celebrations in town. The tradition started two hundred years ago, when a priest ordered the construction of a church in the memory of his deceased mother, who passed away during a complicated birth. For this reason, the legend says that if a pregnant woman walks around the church seven times, she will have a good birth. Nowadays, the festivity has changed a little bit. At eight o'clock there is a religious service and later, people enjoy taking a walk or eating or drinking a bit. Later, all the families get together to have lunch. When they finish, they usually drink a hot Galician punch called queimada. Orchestras, wine sessions and traditional food such as the Galician pie or shellfish, cheer up the party which takes place in an open place surrounded by many interesting archaeological remains, like the petroglyphs. Therefore, if you want to have a good time, San Ramon's Festival is a good way to entertain yourself. Here, you will always be welcome.

RaĂşl Deira

St. John's Eve Every night of June 24, the people in Boiro celebrate St John’s Eve, which is a typical festivity of this town. However, St John’s Eve is also an ancient festival which was held to commemorate the summer solstice. Nowadays, St John’s Eve is celebrated by making bonfires. People jump over these bonfires three times in order to scare the witches away.

It is said that our ancestors made bonfires to give more strength to the sun, as the days get shorter after the summer solstice. St. John's Eve is also a special custom in Galicia, where people wash their faces and hands with “St John’s water”. This water is perfumed with plants, but not any plant. The water must contain “St John’s plants” (aromatic types like St. John's wort, rue or rosemary). People say that if you wash yourself with “St John’s water” at midnight, you will be purified and have good luck. Whatever the origin of St John’s Eve might be, the people in Boiro enjoy this magic night with their family and friends by having sardines or churrasco (grilled pork ribs), a food that everyone likes. So the reasons or origin of this festivity don't matter as long as it provides a good time.

Victoria Domínguez

The Day of the Pe単as The Day of the Pe単as is celebrated on the first days of June in Boiro. Different groups or teams are formed and all kinds of people can participate in the activities: adults, teenagers and children.

In the morning, the teams play typical games, such as sack races or tug-ofwars. At the end of the morning, the team with the greatest number of victories becomes the winner and sometimes the mayor of Boiro gives them a prize.

Another thing which is typical of this day is that each team makes its own T-shirts with a slogan or funny sentence printed on the front. Although the T-shirts change every year, the teams remain the same.

This day is a great excuse for teenagers to get home late because there are a lot of parties at night and parents are quite permissive about it.

Carlos Ferreiro

Rapa das Bestas Rapa das bestas is the name of an operation that involves the cutting of the manes of the horses, which is performed in the curros that are held in many locations throughout Galicia.

At dawn, young people head for the mountains. Their aim is to find wild horses living in the area, bring them back to the village and cut their manes. In order to do this, two aloitadores (the young men who do the cutting) place themselves at the head of the animal, and one more at the tail. First, one of those at the head tries to mount the horse while the one behind tries to imbalance it. Then, the second aloitador at the head tries to do the same, forcing the first one to get off. These are the complicated manoeuvres used to cut the animal's hair in a real body-to-body fight.

When the night falls, all the people get together to enjoy food, music and wine.

The best known rapa das bestas is perhaps the one held in Sabuceda, in the town of A Estrada, in the province of Pontevedra. Every year, these festivals attract more and more visitors on account of the spectacular, noble nature of the battle between man and beast. Andr茅s L贸pez

The Queimada The Queimada is a very popular tradition in Galicia. It is an alcoholic drink which is said to protect drinkers from witches and spells. It is usually taken after a dinner or at a family meeting. This drink was introduced by the Celts to scare away the evil spirits that haunt men and women. For this reason, while preparing it, people recite a spell and remove the burning liquor at the same time. When the dinner is finished, they fill up their cups from the casserole. By doing that, they believe that they are going to stick together.

The conxuro spell Owls, barn owls, toads and witches. Evil demons and devils, spirits of the snowy plains. Crows, salamanders and sorceresses, the spells of the quack doctors. Rotten, hole-ridden canes, worm holes and lairs of vermin. Fire of the souls in torment, the evil eye, black spells, the smell of the dead, thunder and lightning. Dog's bark, portents of death; satyr's snout and rabbits foot. The sinful tongue of the harridan wife of an old man. Hell of Satan and Beelzebub, the fire of burning corpses, the mutilated bodies of the wretched, farts from hellish asses, the roar of the raging sea. Barren womb of the single mother, the meowing of cats on heat, mangy and filthy hair of the ill-begotten goat. With this ladle I will raise the flames of this hell-like fire, and the witches will flee on their broomsticks, to bathe on the fat-pebbled beach. Hear, hear! The howls of those who burn in the aguardiente and thereby purify themselves. And when this brew runs down our throats, we will be free of all the sins of our soul and of all witchcraft. Forces of air, earth, sea and fire, I make this call to you: if it be true that you have more power than man, here and now, make the spirits of the friends who have departed share this queimada with us.

Alexandra Pi単eiro

The Magosto The Magosto is a Galician tradition celebrated in the end of October or the beginning of November.

Traditionally, the Magosto was celebrated with the chestnut pickup, since it was a form of appreciation for the crop collected that year.

Today, the Magosto is celebrated by making a bonfire. When the coals are formed, a tixolo or tambo, which is a metal container with holes at the bottom, is placed over them. Then the chestnuts are put into this container. These chestnuts don’t jump or explode because a cut was previously made on them. A few minutes later, they are ready to be taken out of the container in order to be pealed and eaten.

Other customs are also very common, such as painting people’s faces with black coals, jumping over the fire to have good luck, playing traditional games or singing popular songs.

Noelia SantamarĂ­a

The Apostle's Day The Apostle’s Day is a famous custom in Spain and Galicia. This celebration takes place on 25th July and it’s wonderful.

The tradition started many years ago, when the body of the Apostle Saint James was supposedly put into a stone boat by his followers in Palestine and carried by angels to the town of Padrón, in Galicia, where a team of oxen drew the body to his marble tomb in Santiago de Compostela. For this reason, every 25th July there is a big celebration. During the previous day, we can see dances, concerts and different exhibitions in the streets, but the most beautiful show happens at night.

Everyone is excited at Obradoiro Square, waiting for the amazing firework display. At 12 o’clock, the facade of the cathedral begins to burn and then the show starts, when thousands of fireworks decorate the sky for a long time.

Every year more and more people come to Santiago to enjoy this wonderful show and visit the great cathedral with the big incense burner or botafumeiro.

Cristina Suárez

The Samhain O Samaín is a popular holiday in Galicia and its origin comes from the Celts. In England and America, this day is known as Halloween.

Every year on 31st October, people dress up as zombies, witches, vampires and other terrifying creatures, since the Celts thought that the door between the world of the living and the world of the dead was open that day and, as a consequence, the Celtic New Year began.

Since the door between both worlds was open and the spirits flew around our world, the Celts put the skulls of their enemies by their doors and windows so that the spirits couldn’t get into their houses.

For this reason, we now place pumpkins by our windows or doors too, since putting skulls would be inconvenient in the twenty-first century. We also dress up as sinister creatures to scare people away.

Jorge Triñanes

Customs and traditions of Boiro and Galicia  
Customs and traditions of Boiro and Galicia  

Project made by the English students of 1º BACH-A at IES Praia Barraña high school, in Boiro, Spain.