Monday, 20 January 2020

Las Carontoñas de Acehuche on the fiesta of San Sebastian 2020

The fiesta of San Sebastian on January 20 is celebrated in a particularly bizarre fashion in the small village of Acehúche near Caceres. The carantoñas are wild creature characters, mixing paganism with Christianity as they prowl around the village dressed in grotesque costumes made from a patchwork of hides, horns and tusks from sheep, cows, goats and wild boar, the headdress is particularly gruesome with plenty of gore. They revere San Sebastian, an early Christian martyr, in remembrance of the legend that after he was tortured and killed by his fellow Roman soldiers his body was not devoured by the wild beasts of the forest. Arriving eventually at the village church, a procession takes place with the statue of the saint bound to a living orange tree, local twist. There are explosive rifle volleys, confetti and rosemary strewn in the streets. The carantoñas precede the saint performing a ritualistic dance and reverence along the route together with pipes and drums, the girls of the village are dressed in their best finery, some flirting goes on between the hideous beasts and the beauties.

This year it was really freezing cold even though the sun was shining in a blue sky, we did not linger but left with colourful memories and confetti in our clothes.

Here's a video I took in 2014, 6 years ago already, nothing has changed!

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