Last Updated on 2023-03-01
The Entroido de Xinzo de Limia is a traditional festival celebrated in the city of Xinzo de Limia, located in the province of Ourense, Spain.
It is the longest Carnival in Spain, in fact, some argue that it is the longest in Europe. This is because the festivities extend over five weekends, each one dedicated to a specific event!
In addition to its historical and cultural significance, the Entroido de Xinzo de Limia is also a source of pride and identity for the people of Xinzo de Limia.
The festival brings the community together, encouraging residents and visitors to participate in the celebrations and experience the region’s unique customs and traditions.
I participated in the Oleiro (potter’s day) and I must say that I loved the experience, so please read this article with all the information you need to know to enjoy this peculiar Carnival, just 2 hours from Porto (30 minutes from Ourense).
Historical roots of Entroido de Xinzo de Limia
The Entroido de Xinzo de Limia festival has its roots in ancient pagan celebrations of spring and fertility.
Over time, it has incorporated elements from Christianity, resulting in a unique blend of religious and secular elements.
The festival features elaborate costumes, traditional music, and lively parades, and has been designated an International Tourist Interest Festival, along with Badajoz, Cádiz, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and Murcia (Águillas).
This recognition highlights the importance of preserving and promoting the traditional cultural practices and values embodied in the festival, which is considered one of the most important cultural celebrations in the region.
Additionally, the festival is known for its subversiveness, with role reversals where the rich dress as the poor, women wear men’s clothes, and vice versa.
It is a lively celebration enjoyed by both locals and visitors.
The Xinzo de Limia Carnival celebrations in 2023
As I mentioned, the Shrovetide festivities in this village last for several weeks, so to organize your visit, here is an explanation of what happens on each day of Entroido de Xinzo de Limia in 2023.
Petardazo (the start of Entroido in Xinzo de Limia)
Here’s a guide for the 2023 Entroido de Xinzo de Limia:
January 28: Petardazo – The festivities begin with the Petardazo in Praza Carlos Casares.
Disguised locals and visitors gather to celebrate, with music playing from 10 pm until dawn.
January 29: Fareleiro – The main event takes place in Praza Maior, where a flour battle takes place between the residents of Xinzo de Limia.
Participants dress in old clothes from the 30s of the 20th century, and masks are common. The village is covered in flour during the battle, and no one remains unscathed.
Colgamento do Meco
February 4th: Meco – Meco is an important character in the Entroido de Xinzo de Limia festival.
A puppet with distinctive features is displayed in the center of Praza Maior and remains there until the end of the celebrations.
February 5th: The Potters – This celebration has two parts, one for children and one for adults.
It is a significant tradition in Xinzo de Limia and a sight to see.
Cars loaded with clay pots leave the Museu Galego do Entroido and travel to Praza Maior, where men and women are waiting near Meco.
Participants form a circle around the cars and start throwing the pots at each other. Some pots are empty, but others contain surprises such as water, flour, or ash. When a person picks up a filled pot, they throw its contents into the crowd.
Children are taught this tradition from a young age to preserve it. There is a special version of the Potters for children where the kids of the village play and have fun.
Noite do Corredoiro (Corredoiro’s night)
February 11: Corredoiro night precedes Corredoiro Sunday. Once again, the inhabitants of Xinzo de Limia come together to celebrate the traditions of the land.
The performance of the musical groups starts at 21:30 and lasts until dawn.
February 12th: this is an important day in the celebration of carnival because it is the first day that the PANTALLAS take to the streets.
The Pantallas are the characters from Shrovetide by Xinzo de Limia, who, with a costume in red and white tones, a leather belt with bells, two inflated balloons and an astrology-themed mask, bring animation to the streets of the village.
Tradition says that the Pantallas travel in a group and when they find someone who is not masked, if it is a woman, they are threatened with smallpox and if it is a man, they are taken in arms to the nearest bar, where they have to buy the group a drink.
Venres de Entroido (Carnival Friday)
February 17: It is the day dedicated to the children of the village.
A large children’s parade is prepared that runs through the streets of Xinzo de Limia, and various activities dedicated to the youngest.
Sábado de Entroido (Saturday of Entroido)
February 18: The festivities continue in the village, with musical performances from noon until dawn.
Residents continue to come to the streets dressed as characters from the 1930s, including milk delivery men and knife sharpeners.
Domingo de Entroido (Entroido Sunday)
February 19: The Pantallas continue to search for those who dare to venture out into the streets without proper disguises, and everyone gathers in bars and cafes.
Furthermore, music is a constant presence in Xinzo de Limia, with musical groups following one another.
Lunes de Entroido (Carnival Monday)
February 20th: Tiredness does not seem to exist in Xinzo de Limia. The Pantallas and revelers take full advantage of the Carnival time and don’t rest.
On the Monday of Shrovetide, in addition to the entertainment provided by the locals, there are musical groups playing from noon until the early hours of the morning.
On this day, there is also a children’s performance.
Martes de Entroido (Carnival Tuesday)
February 21: is one of the main days of Entroido de Xinzo de Limia, with a big parade and prizes to be distributed. And, of course, lots of music and Pantallas in the streets.
Enterro da Sardiña (Burial of the Sardine) in Xinzo de Limia
February 22: with the end of Carnival, the last cartridges are burned in Xinzo de Limia.
The Burial of the Sardine is a solemn procession and subsequent reading of the testament left by the sardine. This event takes place in Praza Maior.
February 26: the end of the Entroido festivities in Xinzo de Limia includes children’s activities and lots of music.
The Galician Carnival Museum
To get to know not only the history of Entroido de Xinzo de Limia, but the whole of Galicia, a visit to the Museu Galego do Entroido is essential.
The Museu Galego do Entroido opened its doors in 2015 and has a very complete collection of carnival costumes and clothing from the region, including two Portuguese costumes.
The visit involves walking through the different rooms, each dedicated to a specific theme, such as the sounds of Entroido, the instruments used to enhance the festivities, the cuisine, and the main characters in each Entroido celebration
Masks are very important, as a costume without the respective mask is not complete. Admission is free!
Accomodation in Xinzo de Limia Galicia
There are three hotels in Xinzo de Limia, all three of which are very similar and located on the same street.
So, you can choose between the Hotel Xinzo (2 stars), the Hotel Orly (2 stars) and the Hotel 2 de Mayo 2 (1 star).
I don’t think there’s a big difference between these accommodations, so if you stay in town, you only have these accommodations available.
Food and restaurants in Xinzo de Limia Galicia
Food is very important during Entrudo celebrations in Galicia, so come prepared for a feast!
At this time of year, restaurants usually have a Shrovetide menu, that is, they include the typical dish of the region: the Galician stew.
This dish is robust, to withstand the cold and give energy to revelers. It consists of different types of meat (veal, pork and sausages), chickpeas, potatoes and vegetables.
We had lunch at A De Torino in the center of the village and were very well served. The Cozido Galego was very good, as were the breaded chicken strips that my children had.
How to get to Xinzo de Limia?
Having the city of Porto as a reference, you can count on a journey of around 2 hours, taking the A3 towards Guimarães, then the A7 and A24 until you cross the border with Spain.
Continue on the A-75 and then on the A-52 towards Ourense/Vigo. You will pass by the enigmatic Castle of Monterrei, in Verín and continue until exit 188 for Xinzo de Limia.
Pay attention to speed limits, as there are speed cameras on the road between Verín and the Xinzo de Limia exit.
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