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Fiesta of the Guirria and the Aguinaldo
Ponga (Eastern Asturias) (San Juan de Beleño)
Festival of Touristic Interest
1st January
Fiesta of the Guirria and the Aguinaldo: the first masquerade of the year in Asturias

The Fiesta of the Guirria and the Aguinaldo takes place on January 1 in San Juan de Beleño, the capital of the district of Ponga. This celebration brings ancestral tradition and romanticism to New Year's Day. El Guirria, a mythological masked being – half trasgu (a mythological creature), half a carnival character – harasses women all day long: hugging them, embracing them and kissing them with total impunity. It is like a grand theatrical play by all the village, both indoors and outdoors.

Escorted by men on horseback, the Guirria is an almost invulnerable character for the year which is beginning. The role is normally played by a young man from the district - whose identity is kept secret -.  He kisses all the girls he finds on his way and beats and throws ashes on anyone who tries to stop him..

Meanwhile, the aguinalderos (gift seekers) ride around the houses on their shiny horses, like courtiers of the almost ghostly raid of the Guirria on the streets and houses of San Juan. The townspeople generously provide these illustrious visitors with food and drink in their houses. So, with the joyful verses of the aguinalderos, the romantic lack of inhibition of the guirria and the complicity of the townspeople a new year full of joy begins.

The Guirria and Aguinaldo Festival
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