Madamas and galáns capture everyone's attention at the Carnival of Cobres


In the first few months of the year, one of the gateways to the O Morrazo Peninsula, the municipality of Vilaboa, provides the setting for the only carnival festivity in the south of the province that has been recognised as a Festival of Tourist Interest in Galicia: the Carnival of Cobres. Year after year, this traditional parade spreads across the parishes of Santa Cristina and Santo Adrán.

The neighbours' involvement and the high participation are the hallmark of this carnival, represented by madamas and galáns (male and female dancers). Every year, from Saturday to Tuesday, these characters fill the aforementioned parishes in Vilaboa with colour and rhythm, by dancing the so-called Danza dos Cobres, which, door to door, livens up every home in the area.

Passed down from one generation to the next, this tradition can be traced back to the early 18th century. Two of its prominent features are the eye-catching show performed by the dancers and the lack of masks that are characteristic of other displays of folklore. Instead, ribbons, ornaments and the highly praised handmade hats are part of the essence of the Carnival of Cobres. It also shows a depiction of different social classes, especially apparent in the dancers' clothes.

This way, in the case of the characters referred to as os de branco ("the ones in white"), men wear a flat red hat and women dance bare-headed, and, at the end of the retinue, the aldeanas (female villagers) represent lower-class working women wearing the typical attires of various trades. The group is led by the madamas and galáns, always impeccably dressed. The former are garbed in a white skirt and blouse with lace, ribbons and all sorts of ornaments on them. The outfit is capped by a large, extravagant, handmade hat, with colours, glitter and flowers that make it the centre of attention. Jewellery adds the final touch to this unique ensemble. Similarly, the galáns are characterised by a peculiar attire: they wear a hat with flowers on it, a white shirt with ribbons, white trousers and a handkerchief. 

One of the most eagerly awaited moments takes place on Carnival Tuesday: the traditional Corrida do Galo, at which locals participate in a number of popular games. At the rhythm of the music and the dance, this event will have everyone roaring with laughter, just like the speech of the predicador (preacher), an enigmatic character who criticises everything, or nearly everything.

Schedule 2017 (pdf)

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