Dictionary of Carnival in Asturias 2020: comadres, antroxu, chigres and folixa

Carnival in Asturias is lived with as much or more passion than in Cadiz or Tenerife. In addition to the excitement and desire to party that is shared by people so far away from Spain, we must add that in Asturias we do not have such a mild climate as in those other latitudes.

That is why, when I prepare this Dictionary of Carnival in Asturias 2020, I am aware, because I am taking part in it, that the Asturian is giving his all in this fiesta, even though the sky is covered. And no, it’s not the weather forecast for this week, quite the contrary.

But before you review the calendar of celebrations (track: Comadres Thursday, the official starting date, is February 20), I leave you with a short explanation, and translation, of what are some essential terms to better understand this festival, which is very deep-rooted throughout Asturias but especially in the medieval town of Avilés, my hometown.

Disfraz de payasos, Carnaval (Antroxu) en Asturias

Clown costume, Carnival (Antroxu) in Asturias

Enjoy it in Avilés, Gijón, Oviedo or any other Asturian city, here you have a basic vocabulary to better understand the Antroxu (Carnival) in Asturias.

Basic vocabulary to understand Carnival (Antroxu) in Asturias

Antroxu: “Carnival” in bable, and you will notice that I use both words interchangeably throughout the article. Do it yourself when you’re around, it’s always nice to see the visitor learning some local word.

Chigre Antroxao: Bar, cider house or restaurant that changes the decoration during Carnival to dress up, from the front to the waiters, during the festivities. It is a very widespread custom, especially in Avilés, where the best anthroxan establishments are also rewarded.

Disfrazadas en Avilés durante el Carnaval (Antroxu)

Disguised in Avilés during Carnival (Antroxu)

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Jueves de Comadres: It will be on February 20th and it is the women’s night, when they go out in groups to have dinner, dance and have fun without any male presence among them. Another thing is that Thursdays, especially in Gijón and Oviedo, are quite lively days and men are approached with the same hope as any Thursday, Friday or Saturday, whether it is a holiday or not.

Folixa: Party, fun, noise (because without it there is no noise), what awaits you if you go out in disguise during the Antroxu.

Antroxu (Carnival) in AsturiasAntroxu (Carnival) in Asturias

Galiana’s Descent: It is celebrated the Saturday before Antroxu’s Tuesday and it will be this February 22nd that it will celebrate its XXXIII Edition with more than twenty artifacts registered up to date. It consists of the descent of large gadgets (in the shape of a fishing boat, Viking, fish from the abyssal depths, whale or whatever, although generally related to the theme of that year’s Carnival) handmade by groups of friends and neighbours, from Galiana Street on a route where the foam cannons have covered the pavement, to simulate the sea, and continue to cover the spectators.

A raincoat is a must, and if you have children, when the parade ends don’t let them out of your sight in Plaza de España: it turns into a real foam pool where they love to play.

The Antroxu comes with prizes in Avilés, to be distributed in the following competitions and categories:

Descent of Galiana (6,500 euros)Ginkana Automobile (2,060 euros)Antroxaes Pet Competition (350 euros)Murgas, Charangas and Fanfares Festival (1,300 euros)Antroxos, Moxigangues and Carroces Parade (2,960 euros)Antroxaos Winch Competition (4,200 euros)King of Goxu and Faba (2,500 euros).

Plaza de España en Avilés cubierta de espuma en carnaval

Plaza de España in Avilés covered in carnival foam

Burial of the Sardine: Symbolizes the end of the unbridled and carnal festival and the beginning of the recollection and reflection of the Holy Week.

At the funeral of the Sardine (although due to its size it looks more like a sea bream or a whale) it can be thrown into the sea, burned or suffer a pyrotechnic explosion, always amidst the applause of the public.

Sardina de Avilés, Carnaval en Asturias

Sardine of Avilés, Carnival in Asturias

El Antroxu is celebrated with joy all over Asturias, although as long as you do not have the gift of ubiquity, you will have to choose where to go as activities coincide in various cities, as we tell you in our articles about the programme of activities for the carnivals of Avilés, Gijón and Oviedo.

Although, sorry for my Gijón friends, the Descent of Galiana has no competition.

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