Characters of the Entroido (Galician carnival) 

Warming up engines, the entroido is coming! In Galicia it is a very important festival, in fact, we have nine entroidos considered festivals of tourist interest. Two of them, that of Verín and that of Xinzo, are also festivals of national and international interest respectively. Although it is celebrated everywhere, it is in the province of Ourense where we find the most traditional characters. 

To get fully into the environment, we are going to get closer to each one of them. Who is who in the Galician entroido? 

Pantallas (Xinzo de Limia). In Xinzo it happens that before the end of one year’s party, they are already thinking about the next. It is that here the entroido seems infinite, it does not last a week, but five weekends! Who gives more? And, who are the protagonists?: the pantallas. They wear a mask painted with a face like a mocking demon. They also carry colored crests. The shirt and breeches are white, leggings and shoes black, cape red or black, red sash with cowbells and kerchief. Not that they go unnoticed! As if they weren’t making enough of a fuss with the cowbells on their belts, they beat two inflated animal bladders, as if they were balloons. Beware of the pantallas, which are the ones that make people firm. Woe to us if we go without disguise… 

Cigarróns (Verín). The cigarróns have to be in shape for the party. The suit can weigh up to 25 kg! They say that the origin of the character may be in the old tax collectors or in some similar position. Be careful, they are armed with a whip! We can recognize them by the painted mask with mustaches and blushes, which is extended into a tin miter with animal or astral symbols, with pompoms at the ends, finished off at the back with an animal skin. They are very elegant: jacket, white shirt, red tie, pants with tassels, white stockings and black shoes. Above the sash they wear a belt with six large cowbells to keep time. In the parade, whip in hand, they are imposing order. 

Peliqueiros (Laza). Another 25 kg can weigh the costume of these characters. They cannot be touched or stained, but they can be insulted. The mask and miter and, of course, the animal pelica (skin), which is where the name peliqueiro comes from, are very similar to those of Verín; Logical, since they are nearby sites. Instead of the whip of cigarróns, they are armed with the “zamarra”, a whip to punish the clueless who walk around without disguise. 

Boteiros and folións (Viana do Bolo). The folións are troupes of about 30 or 40 people who carry agricultural tools and drums, their way of giving rhythm to the crowd through the streets. They say they play to scare away evil spirits. The boteiros are the ones that give way to the folións. They wear a mask topped with an incredible plume of colors. Multicolor is also the rest of the costume, made of silk ribbons. They wear bells on their belts and, when older, a large “monca”, a decorated stick that helps them bounce. Be careful, they can also use it to mess with the public… 

Mázcaras (Manzaneda). The high mountains are also filled with color in the entroido. In Manzaneda, the mázcara, despite the name, usually goes without a mask. The decoration goes above the head, in a hat with an elaborate headdress, in a very colorful high structure. They wear white shirts and leggings with lace, mantilla, black boots, cane and colored ribbons. As tradition dictates, the belt is loaded with cowbells to keep the rhythm. Here music and dance are very important. But the mázcara does not go alone, but is always accompanied by the folión or fulíón, a comparsa that goes around the villages. They liven up the party with drums, bagpipes and farm tools. In the foliadas they all come together and make satirical representations. 

Felos (Maceda). The clothing is very similar to that of the peliqueiros and cigarróns. The most distinctive feature is that of black stockings instead of white, necklaces, fox tail and cane. They carry five cowbells and boots. In an attempt to get closer to the origins of the festival, the miter is only decorated with animals typical of the Mamede mountain range. We immediately become aware of its presence by the “esgutíos” (a kind of sound made by felos). They are always jumping and dancing. By the way, in principle only single men can wear this suit. 

Boteiros (Vilariño de Conso). Here the party is enlivened by the fulións, with their drums and music from scythes and other field instruments, and the boteiros, who dance and bounce to the sound. The boteiros wear a cardboard mask, different depending on the area, lined with hair and goatskin. The shirt and pants are decorated with colored ribbons. They also carry cowbells on their belts and, in their hands, the “monca”, a staff sometimes also decorated. 

Madamas and galáns (Cobres). The Entroido in Cobres, Vilaboa, Pontevedra, has a more stately air. Despite being a very popular party, the protagonists refer to a class society. He is one of the few introverts without a mask, with an uncovered face. The madamas (madames) are dressed in a white shirt and skirt, fine stockings with black shoes and a bodice, a bib on which many necklaces are attached. And all adorned with colored ribbons. feathers, trimmings… Although the most spectacular thing is the hat, profusely decorated. The galáns (gentlemen) are just as smug, but they wear a slightly smaller hat. It’s nice to see madamas and galáns perform their elegant dances. 

Xenerais da Ulla. These characters are well distinguished because they are uniformed as if they were going to a fantasy war, with a lot of decorations and hats full of colored plumes. In addition, the couriers go on horseback, who also wear their best clothes. The funniest thing is the “atranques”, meetings between xenerais (generals) from different places who engage in dialectical battle, always in a tone of mockery and satire. And there is a lot of blockage, taking into account that eight municipalities of A Coruña and Pontevedra participate in the festival (A Estrada, Boqueixón, Santiago, Silleda, Teo, Touro, Vedra and Vilanova de Cruces).

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