Spanish Carnival traditions: la Mussona.

Posted on 27. Feb, 2014 by in Entertainment, Holidays, Spanish Culture

Vuelve el carnaval, y con él tradiciones y fiestas a cual más curiosa. Gracias a un amigo he sabido de este inquietante personaje que sale a pasear durante los carnavales de Águilas (Murcia): la Mussona. Se trata de una figura mitad humana, mitad animal, que representa tanto el lado civilizado como el lado salvaje que todo ser humano posee.

Su origen parece estar en la pobreza y falta de recursos de los aguileños a principios de siglo XX para tener disfraces elaborados, quienes optaron por cubrirse el cuerpo con trozos de esparto, y pintar la cara con tizne para no ser reconocidos. De esta guisa recorrían el pueblo asustando niños y gastando bromas.

Hoy día este personaje cobra protagonismo durante la “Suelta de la Mussona”, que se lleva a cabo el jueves antes del domingo de carnaval. Ese día el Oficiante lee el conjuro que deja libre a la Mussona, que baja desde el castillo del pueblo asustando a los asistentes, enfurecida ante los cánticos de los vecinos. Su llegada al pueblo implica el inicio del carnaval. Junto a la Mussona va el Domador, quien con el sonido de un pandero intenta guiar y calmar a la bestia.

La Mussona se ha ido adaptando a los nuevos tiempos, y es hoy día, junto a la Musa, don Carnal y doña Cuaresma, un personaje clave en esta fiesta murciana. ¿Os animáis a conocerlo en persona?

Carnival is coming, and with it traditions and festivities quite curious. Thanks to a friend I have known of this disturbing character that goes out during the carnivals of Águilas (Murcia): the Mussona. It is a half-human half-animal figure, which represents both the civilized and the wild sides that every human being possesses.

Its origin seems to be in the poverty and lack of resources of the people from Águilas at the beginning of 20th century to have elaborated costumes, so they chose to cover their bodies with chunks of esparto, and to paint their faces with smut not to be recognized. This way they went through the village scaring children and playing jokes.

Nowadays, this character is the protagonist of the “Release of the Mussona “, which takes place the Thursday before the Sunday of Carnival. This day the Officiant reads the spell that frees the Mussona, who goes down from the village´s castle scaring the assistants, enraged by the neighbors’ songs. Its arrival into town implies the beginning of Carnival. Close to the Mussona there goes the Tamer, who tries to guide and tame the beast with the sound of his tambourine.

The Mussona has adapted itself to modern times and it is, with the Muse, Don Carnal y Doña Cuaresma, a main figure in this festivity from Murcia. Would you dare to meet it in person?

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About Magda

Hi all! I’m Magda, a Spanish native speaker writing the culture posts in the Transparent Language Spanish blog. I have a Bachelor’s in English Philology and a Master’s in Linguistics and Literature from the University of Granada, in Spain. I have also completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, and then worked as an English teacher in several schools and academies for several years. Last year was my first at university level. In addition, I work as a private tutor, teaching English and Spanish as a foreign language to students and adults. In my free time, I’m an avid reader and writer, editing and collaborating in several literary blogs. I have published my first poetry book recently. And last but not least, I love photography!

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