His mask is placed and then the legend returns to the council of Ponga, to San Juan de Beleño. Escorted by men on horseback, the Guirria is an almost invulnerable character, a superman for the new year that begins.
The role is interpreted by a young man from the council who will kiss the girls he meets in his path and who will throw ash and give sticks to anyone who prevents him. The aguinarderos they are asking for the houses on the backs of their lustrous horses, accompanying the Guirria in their ghostly incursion through the streets of San Juan.
Tell the oral tradition that a few decades ago, the mischievous goblin pongueto -who is embodied every year in a single young man whose identity remains anonymous- had no qualms about knocking down partitions, removing glass or forcing doors to find the hidden girls. The anecdote is told of a guirria who ended up with his meat in an adobu masera after stepping on the false boarding of an attic.
And all for love… In Beleño endless theories are elaborated about this legend. Some argue that it embodies what sociologists call a rite of passage. They represent the world of agricultural and livestock relations; the ritual of mating, fertility, reproduction and the creation of wealth, defends Angel Mato, a native of Beleño and a history teacher. Others simply surmise that it is an ancient formula for wooing.
Be that as it may, around midday of the New Year, the Guirria retinue and the riders of the aguinaldo depart from San Juan de Beleño towards the Cainava district. There begins his diablesca route by Beleño. When you get to Cainava, enter all the open houses and kiss all the girls you can. In all homes they offer you to eat and drink and become his accomplices. They are also hospitable with their riders, who sing couplets with wishes of happiness for all the neighbors.
An unrepeatable day for those who embody the legend and those who support it as spectators. When night falls, the superman detaches himself from his white mask, his beard, the cone he wears for a hat, his suit ... his baton, and all the force of the myth remains without a body to move it. It will be until next year. Always on January 1, that day in which in addition to being hungover, many are those who are fully sure that better times will come, at work, in health ... and also in love.
Photo report: J. Pandal and Xosé Ambas
Text: © Ramón Molleda for asturias.com