Submitted by anon
Caretos (meaning “Ugly Faces”) represent demons of Nature linked to fertility rituals. It’s a pre-historic celtic tradition still in place in the region of Bragança in Northern Portugal.
(click on the pictures to see where the caretos are from and for a clearer and fuller view)
With masks made of wood, brass, cork, straw or fabric, and costumes made of traditional colorful quilts, young men run through the village, screaming, playing the chocalhos (bells), playing pranks, trying to steal whine and re-enacting several historic moments, like the roman invasions, the visigothic invasions and the muslim invasions.
The only way to get the Caretos to stop their pranks is by throwing ash at them or getting the Marafonas (Crones) to intervene.
They’re more active around Mardi Gras (Carnaval), and while it’s never been a holiday, it has always been what counts as a bank holiday. Two years ago, when Portugal asked for financial bailout, the Prime-Minister decided to end Carnaval, stating that it’s not even a Portuguese tradition (needless to say he’s from the South). One of his minister apologized on public TV to the people of Bragança that same night, going against the Prime-Minister, but the damaged had already been done.
Then again, with the way the North is treated here, it’s not surprising
Pictures from google
Video (music: Foliada de Berbucido by Gallician folk group Milladoiro. Spanish Galicia and Northern Portugal belong to the same ethnic/cultural group)
What people often forget is that the Celts lived in much more of Europe than Ireland and England