In these days, prior to the defeat of Don Carnal and the reign for forty days of the grim Lent, Asturians feel the impulse to mutate into new entities. Traditionally this metamorphosis came 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.
Long ago, Antroxu participants painted their faces black with a burnt cork or soot. These were very cheap masquerades. Two holes were made in cardboard, cloth or wood, as a mask and it was customary to disguise themselves as animals, using the skins of the cattle themselves. The most widespread at that time, however, were the scruffy, the probones or antroxos, of the ancestral genre of the guirrias and zamarrones that asked for the Christmas bonus 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 widely criticized by the Church when considering it a transgressor of morals. The musical instruments of choice were cans, pans, cowbells, horns, whistles, and turullos. Haughty and disrespectful rhythms that are still guessed today in the notes of the brass bands.
The Antroxu in Asturias was banned for a long time. It was recovered with the arrival of the democratic city councils in the 80s. Today the carnival keeps the essence of its original anthroxu although the forms and costumes have been refined. The eagerness to reverse the order of things that it brings with it continues to lead to "irrational" acts, exorbitant humor and folixas. The irony, the satire, the verses are especially evil against public figures and their work.
Carnival Avilés, Gijón and Oviedo 2024
The carnival festivities are approaching…
Antroxu in Avilés
Some towns in Asturias are at the cutting edge of dressing up. In the three cities with the largest population in 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 XNUMXth century, in the city of Avilés two types of celebrations coexisted: the popular antroxu and the gallant carnival of the wealthy classes that brought out floats, decorated cars, costume balls, confetti battles and Nice-style streamers. or Venice. Carnival Monday was the day reserved for the popular classes to take over the town with their particular way of interpreting the Antroxu: grotesque costumes, egg battles 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 Gijon
In Gijón the party Comadres Thursday night officially begins. Moment in which the name of the Sardine is announced, which every year leaves the Cantabrian Sea to bathe in the crowds. From that moment and for six long days and nights, the gijon carnival has the most extensive festive program in all of Asturias: Contest of Charangas, floats, dozens of cultural and recreational events for all ages and a popular burial of the sardine with which everything concludes and that congregates in a massive way the people of Gijón. In the Plaza Mayor the Sardine is killed, then a respectful wake is established, then the funeral procession will come, the reading of the will of the ill-fated sardine and her 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 Oviedo. The festivities in old Oviedo always take place the weekend following those in Avilés and Gijón. The hospitality sector strongly joins the Carbayón carnival, offering a special menu for the occasion: the carnival pot. Many locals serve this typical menu that consists of a good broth accompanied by a stew of collard greens, beans, potatoes and pork. Then come the desserts, being able to choose the casadielles, the frixuelos or the rice pudding. It is a strong menu, suitable for days where you need calories to consume to keep up.
Like Antroxu itself, the gastronomy that accompanies it extends to all corners of the Principality. In the western zone the «rapón» is a typical dessert, a cake made of corn and kneaded with water, salt, onion and pieces of chorizo and bacon, covered with collard greens and baked in the oven. In the east the carnival is garnished with "Pregnant boronas", compact corn dough, stuffed with sausages and meats from the slaughter. The most widespread dessert in this area are the cream-filled wind fritters: the roasted, tasty pieces of bread soaked in milk and egg, fried and drizzled with sugar.
Text: © Ramón Molleda for asturias.com