Friday, 21 February 2020

The “Entroido” or Carnival of Laza is a time to party, celebrating the end of winter and is one of the most ancient and bizarre Carnivals in the world.

To get to Laza (pop 1300) – 25 hours in a plane from Australia to Madrid. A day’s recovery. 4 hours in a train to Ourense for a night and then an hour or so in a hire car.

We found out about the Entroido when passing through Laza on the Camino Sanabres in 2017 and immediately booked a room at Pensión Blanco Conde for the Carnival of 2020.

Conchi and Tomás are fabulous hosts who explained the ins and outs of the Carnival (thankfully in Spanish, the only information available is in Gallego) and invited us to watch them dress a family member peliqueiro.

Laza, a small village (pop 1300) in Galicia, north-west Spain
The Carnival is opened by a midnight procession following a giant smoke belching, pre-historic part-human, part-beast through the streets of Laza
Burning straw torches fill the street with smoke and light
Men, cow bells strapped to their waists, run at high speed through the crowd wipping anyone who gets in their way

Saturday, 24 February 2020 – Vilariño de Conso

On Saturday we drove to Vilariño de Conso to see the Boteiros – click here

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Sunday, more than 150 peliqueiros appear for the first time in the Entroido of Laza. The origin, meaning and purpose of the peliqueiros seems lost in time but surely is pre-Roman. These characters wear a tall wooden mask decorated with bright paintings on the front, covered at the back with a animal fur and rush across the village imposing their authority. 

We were privileged to be invited to the dressing of a peliqueiro, a process that takes over an hour
Peliqueiros run through the streets of Laza whips ready for anyone daring to obstruct the path
Pam wasn’t quite quick enough and got a good wack!
The crowd quickly makes a space
You know when the peliqueiros are coming, each carries 6 large loud bells
Leaving the town bar
Peliqueiros always run – they never walk
Heading up from the bottom of the village
Each peliqueiro has his own costume and unique mask
Children participate too (note the animal fur on the back of the masks)
More peliqueiros

Monday, 24 February 2020

Loco, loco – Monday is crazy

Monday starts with a friendly war where rags drenched in mud are thrown at random at everyone taking part, or not. We managed to dodge most of them.

It all happens on the plaza in front of the bar …
… and gets crazier, and muddier
Now, take your chances with a wild bull
At sundown they throw ants on everybody
Might not be as big as this one but there are millions of black biting ants in the air
But there’s more – flour flung everywhere

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Tuesday and the Peliqueiros continue frantically running around the town at random times, in random directions.

A short peliqueiro video

Turn up the volume

Disguised for Entroido
There’s a lot of people to feed so a BBQ is set up on the edge of town
Delicious – pork ribs, sausage, local wine and bread