Images from the traditional Galician carnival or ‘entroido’ in Maceda, near the northwest coast of Spain (just north of the border with Portugal, about 90km E of Vigo and Pontevedra), which I visited with three friends in February 2014. The masked characters (here called ‘felos’) carry walking sticks; their costumes are similar to those of the better-known ‘peliqueiros’ of Laza (28km SE of Maceda) and the ‘cigarróns’ of Verín (40km SE). Only single men can perform as a felo, who are by definition rebellious and anarchic spirits. Their spectacular hats, of which they are very proud, are hand-painted with a creature that they have chosen to represent themselves – in a sense, their ‘spirit’ or ‘totem’ animal.
They are part of a small, fairly low-key procession of carnival characters that accompanies a handcart (decorated with the tall, tree-like cabbage plants that are a local speciality) from which handfuls of flour are thrown at bystanders. There is also a very aggressive bull, consisting of a set of horns attached to a wooden head with a cape fastened to the back. Another member of the procession was dressed in what I was told was a local traditional rural rain protection: trousers, coat and pointed hood made of straw. Rather riskily, he was carrying a flaming torch – but fortunately, it was pouring with rain.
Some onlookers in the town’s bars, such as the girls pictured below, who hadn’t been part of the procession, also get into the carnival spirit by dressing up and painting their faces.