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Festivities and Pilgrimages
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Home -> Festivities and Pilgrimages -> Carnival: Parade of the Altos dos Xenerais

Carnival: Parade of the Altos dos Xenerais

Carnival is a popular festivity which originated as an indication of the end of winter and thus, the start of spring. In Carnival Christian and pagan rituals merge, it being the time when you can break all the rules, change personality or identity and lampoon the establishment.

It is without doubt the most irreverent festivity in the Galician calendar. That's why it was banned during the Franco era, despite being kept alive in the villages.

Demonstrations: In this area there are two ways of living the Carnival. The first is through parades, floats, masks and accompanied by musical groups, in its more modern version, as is held in Silleda with prizes for best costumes. It is organised on Carnival Sunday through the streets of the town.

The other, the star of Carnival, with its own personality within Silleda council, the “Alto dos Xenerais” traditionally held between the parishes on the banks of the river Ulla.

A Bandeira, Lamela, Piñeiro and Dornelas decided a few years ago to dress up and go along the paths and neighbourhoods on horseback singing the "vivas" and "atrancos" and represent the traditional carnivals that already existed in people’s memories in the early 20th century.

The General and entourage (messenger, guard, choir and wags), dressed in military uniforms and decorated with all kinds of ornaments, perform in rhyming verse; there are dialectical fights between sides, invaders and defenders of the town. With the appropriate languge of the time, they hurl declarations against everything established and enforced by the authorities, bosses, clergy and in defense of the working class, farmers... the oppressed.

The Ulla Generals are now a recognizable feature of the Galician rural carnival.

It is usually held on the weekend before Shrove Tuesday, except for Lamela which holds it on the Saturday of the week before.

Gastronomy: If it's time for fun then it’s also an ideal time for lunch and dinner, because another key component of the Galician Carnival is the gastronomy.

If carnival is the popular manifestation of the changing seasons, the transition from winter to spring, then we have to give undue praise to the pre "Lent", 40 days of fasting and abstinence which the church instructs its followers to do, meals.

In Silleda, green heart of Galicia, at this time of year you cannot avoid tasting the cured products. The pork shoulder with turnip greens, cocido or desserts such as: ears, flowers, pancakes with honey and cheese with quince jelly. All washed down with good wine and coffee liqueur.

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