Espiritus de Invierno

Espiritus de Invierno

Spirit of the natural elements. La Vijanera festival, Silio, Spain, 2017. © 2020 Yannick Cormier.

In many parts of Europe and especially in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal, and the Basque Country), archaic and mysterious figures regularly haunt carnival rites since the Middle Ages (but referring, according to some specialists like A. Darpeix, member of the historical and archaeological society of Perigord, to a distant shamanic and Neolithic antiquity). They are masks adorned with skins of animals, vegetables, and straw, surrounded by bells and bones, often crowned with horns and pieces of wood. Thus arises the wild man within modern paganism to symbolize the rebirth of nature emerging from winter. The figures are essentially ambiguous, at the crossroads of nature and culture. The masks always speak of the mysteries of existence: in traditional societies, they were or still are the figures of ancestors and spirits of the dead, that of protective or evil spirits.

A person performing the “Zarramaco” bird character, carnival “del gallo” of Mecerreyes, Spain, 2019. © 2020 Yannick Cormier
A person performing the “Zarramaco” bird character, carnival “del gallo” of Mecerreyes, Spain, 2019. © 2020 Yannick Cormier
A 'Zarramaco'. Wild boar, carnival 'del gallo' of Mecerreyes, Spain, 2019. © 2020 Yannick Cormier.
A ‘Zarramaco’. Wild boar, carnival ‘del gallo’ of Mecerreyes, Spain, 2019. © 2020 Yannick Cormier.
Spirit of the natural elements. La Vijanera festival, Silio, Spain, 2017. © 2020 Yannick Cormier
Spirit of the natural elements. La Vijanera festival, Silio, Spain, 2017. © 2020 Yannick Cormier Spirit of the natural elements. The Vijanera ritual ends with the death of the bear, symbolizing victory over evil. Thanks to this rite, not only was the cattle protected, but also ensured the survival of the group, keeping away evil spirits and freeing souls from the dead. La Vijanera festival, Silio, Spain, 2017.
The character of the Trapajeros is characterized by a dressing with strips of old clothes, a mask on the face and a stick on which strips of rags are hung. In the past, these rags were used to spread mud on young women, representing a fertility ritual. La Vijanera festival, Silio, Spain, 2017. Copyright © 2020 Yannick Cormier.
The character of the Trapajeros is characterized by a dressing with strips of old clothes, a mask on the face and a stick on which strips of rags are hung. In the past, these rags were used to spread mud on young women, representing a fertility ritual. La Vijanera festival, Silio, Spain, 2017. Copyright © 2020 Yannick Cormier.
Spirit of the natural elements. The Vijanera ritual ends with the death of the bear, symbolizing victory over evil. Thanks to this rite, not only was the cattle protected, but also ensured the survival of the group, keeping away evil spirits and freeing souls from the dead. La Vijanera festival, Silio, Spain, 2019. © 2020 Yannick Cormier.
Spirit of the natural elements. The Vijanera ritual ends with the death of the bear, symbolizing victory over evil. Thanks to this rite, not only was the cattle protected, but also ensured the survival of the group, keeping away evil spirits and freeing souls from the dead. La Vijanera festival, Silio, Spain, 2019. © 2020 Yannick Cormier.
A 'Zarramaco', carnival 'del gallo' of Mecerreyes, Spain, 2019. © 2020 Yannick Cormier.
A ‘Zarramaco’, carnival ‘del gallo’ of Mecerreyes, Spain, 2019. © 2020 Yannick Cormier.
The Little Devil of Los Carochos, Riofrío de Aliste, Spain, 2019. © 2020 Yannick Cormier.
The Little Devil of Los Carochos, Riofrío de Aliste, Spain, 2019. © 2020 Yannick Cormier.
Wild character from Santiago de Arriba, Chantada. During the masquerade of Viana de Bolo, 2019.  © 2020 Yannick Cormier.
Wild character from Santiago de Arriba, Chantada. During the masquerade of Viana de Bolo, 2019. © 2020 Yannick Cormier.
Wild character from Santiago de Arriba, Chantada. During the masquerade of Vilariño de Conso, Spain, 2019. © 2020 Yannick Cormier.
Wild character from Santiago de Arriba, Chantada. During the masquerade of Vilariño de Conso, Spain, 2019. © 2020 Yannick Cormier.
Caretos de Lazarim with an anthropomorphic club called "roberto". Portugal, 2019. © 2020 Yannick Cormier.
Caretos de Lazarim with an anthropomorphic club called “roberto”. Portugal, 2019. © 2020 Yannick Cormier.
The figures are essentially ambiguous, at the crossroads of nature and culture.

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