The Fiesta de los Huevos Pintos - which phonetically sounds loud and guttural: Güevos Pintos -It is one of the most popular and colorful festivals in Asturias. And it is for cultural and folkloric reasons, but also for artistic reasons.
How do you make a pinto egg?
In some, entire weeks are spent, working several hours a day. First the egg is boiled and, In hot so that it "grabs" the motif is drawn and the color is applied: India ink, watercolor, dye... Then they are varnished so that the color lasts even if they are handled all the time.
En The Pola, the technique is clear and that, over the years, different ways of painting have been developed. Cooked they endure years and years, but there are those who prefer to empty them so that they are eternal. Only a few years ago, the reasons to draw They were traditional in most cases, with typically Asturian scenes. But they have evolved towards an amazing variety. There are eggs that have been painted the Guernica, Las Meninas of Velázquez or the romantic scenes of Gustav Klimt. Authentic works of art, very reliable reproductions in the shape of an egg.
Although they are also painted protagonists of children's series, Scenes of cult movies, characters of cinematographic sagas, Symbols regional, also universal, brands, logos ... They are tuned also the eggs with beads and accessories looking for a more innovative point that does not remain only in the shell. There are those who follow Pysanky style, and decorates them with beeswax and natural dyes, or who emphasizes the drawings with a lifelong rotring. And although the Chinese ink it is the most used, they are also painted gouache, with gouache, oil, watercolors, pen... Most of the time they wear on the back a caption, poetry or witty phrase. Because we are talking about aspirational eggs: they want to make us laugh, chat, think, even dream.
A Party of ... güevos
If we dedicate ourselves to contemplating them one by one, and in detail, we will fall prey to Stendhal syndrome, but to the beast, and the vertigo will take over us while we drunk through the streets of La Pola. This is the party of the Güevos Pintos, a powerful multicolored sensation that takes away iron and drama from the recently ended Holy Week. Easter Tuesdays are like that, they were once used for rejoicing, for spend jokes, to feel light and graceful after the resurrection of Our Lord. The egg is the beginning of a new life, that is why it comes to our hair at this time. But already before Christ there were painted eggs. Yes. We could rewind 60 thousand years back and we would find decorated ostrich eggs.
When is Eggs Pintos?
Undoubtedly, the Huevos Pintos are the Easter Eggs because they are celebrated on the Tuesday following Easter Sunday. Its meaning is related to Lent and the prohibition of consuming certain foods, including eggs, which were accumulating in the houses where there were chickens. So at the end of Lent, the idea of giving them to relatives and friends became popular. The custom of enriching and painting them possibly had a courtly origin.
And in La Pola (in Asturias also in Sama), eggs that have been previously hand painted are exhibited, sold and given away. He wake up a flea market popular for this purpose, to which thousands of pilgrims come from all over the world, and after admiring the eggs, they drink cider, parade in floats, dance, auction the ramu and enjoy themselves through the streets of Poles.
A very special moment of this party is the Blessing of the Güevos Pintos In the town hall square; from that moment runs the cider, the good gastronomy, the bagpipes and the party, culminating with a verbena that lasts until dawn.
Famous pilgrimage of uncertain origin
In the eighteenth century This pilgrimage was already famous. His Majesty the King granted the City Council of Siero a regulation authorizing the Corporation to spend a large sum to defray the expenses of the great celebrations, both religious and profane.
In a chronicle of 1860, signed Protasio Sánchez Solís, we read: «Only Oviedo and Gijón brought a hundred horse-drawn carriages to the famous procession of the Huevos Pintos and an animation impossible to describe».
The eggs were then cooked in the old Asturian kitchens and they painted themselves with soot from the same. The party was known by the nickname of "los Huevos Prietos". The progress of chemistry, with the inventions of the anilines, sharpened the ingenuity of the polesos who used them for the dyeing of eggs. Using toothpicks dipped in nitric acid, they wrote names, dedications, verses, and drew shields, flowers, etc. It was then when the name of Huevos Prietos changed to Huevos Pintos.
The tradition of the Pinto Eggs in Asturias -although it has several centuries- is of uncertain origin. In Siero it has been transmitted orally, from generation to generation. They say that perhaps it is linked – it is just a hypothesis – to the people who came from Central Europe to work in the Siero and Langreo mines, where the first coal deposits were explored. Wherever it came from, the tradition took a seat on a soft throne and has not yet risen.
Text: © Ramón Molleda for asturias.com