We show you below the Exhibition made by José Carlos juncal and Agustín Ibáñez, representing the Carnival of Santoña in the 2nd Carnival Seminar held on November 27, 28, 29, 1986.
Cantabria is a region that has a wide coastline in which important peoples have historically settled, whose family economies obtained their resources indistinctly from the sea or agriculture. Santoña is among all, a town that has preserved some of these historical realities, particularly in the Carnivals, where the community and its agents take on special importance and materialize, under the protection of their symbols and behaviors, their identity and social relationships.
HISTORY OF THE SANTOÑA CARNIVAL IN THE XIX CENTURY.
It is very difficult to specify the date of origin of the Carnivals of Santoña given its age.
What we know from written data collected in the minutes of the Liceo Casino Society, is that since 1864, they have been held, except during the Civil War, uninterruptedly. In the minutes of January 1864, we can read:
"Given the custom established in previous years, it is agreed to give Carnival and Piñata Sunday dances", so it is to be assumed that they are from an earlier era.
These data make us see that the masked dances in closed places (casinos, societies, etc.) contrast with the popular sailor costumes, which undoubtedly have an older origin and refer to different species in their exposure. marine, with whose skins the murguistas covered their bodies, perhaps invoking the fertility of the seas.
Already in 1883, given the great popular participation, municipal ordinances appeared, in which norms were dictated that regulate the use of masks, dresses and costumes, thus trying to avoid offending good customs and institutions.
The newspapers of 1892 tell us about the importance of the dances in the local societies "Sociedad Casino Liceo", "La Juventud Santoñesa", "El Café Español", "José Bonet" and the "Sociedad la Peña", competing for the greater notoriety.
For example, the Casino Liceo, boasted of the good taste with which its dance and rest rooms were decorated, "which could compete with the most aristocratic", the smoking room of the La Peña Society, appeared adorned with bouquets, while that the dance was lavishly decked out. The Santoñesa Youth Society, praised its Piñata dance: "it has been the non plus ultra of all those celebrated, what more beautiful women! What more elegant costumes! What a tidal wave ...!"
All this suggests the great boom that the Santoñés Carnival had in those days.
SUMMARY HISTORY OF THE SANTOÑA CARNIVAL AT THE BEGINNING OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY.
Data collected in the minutes of the Casino Liceo, such as the articles that appeared in the newspaper "El Avisador", both in a review of 1,902, and in its number of January 20, 1912, cite us as the most important days of the festivities, Saturday of Carnival, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and Sunday of Pitaña. They continue to refer to the importance of the Society dances, some of whose venues have disappeared, while new ones take their place.
The Casino Liceo Society and the Santoñesa Youth maintain their tradition. The Dance of the Sergeants and the Hispanic Cinema replace those that have already disappeared. The latter acquires a popular character, in contrast to the former, which could only be accessed by members. In it you could rent costumes and masks, the subscription for the dances and rent throughout the carnival, could be obtained for seven pesetas, The aforementioned newspaper tells us how while at night the dances were celebrated in the places already mentioned, for the afternoon became popular in the Plaza Vieja.
In front of this Hall Carnival, which claimed for itself an exquisite and courtly taste, with abundant refinements, we find the Popular Street Carnival, whose own atmosphere was the public and free spaces of the city.
The common people were accompanied in this type of festivities by the liberal bourgeoisie that, even at that time, continued to enjoy the street as a means of festive protest and propagation of political and social ideals in struggle against the old ideas of conservatism.
However, this reforming petty bourgeoisie tried to extend to the streets the refined and civilized moral fabric that reigned in the salons. The lower strata were accused of making a distasteful Carnival, where bullshit, bizarre clothes, and ridiculous and indecent behavior abound.
It is evident that these patterns of progress and urbanity of the new rationalist morality could not continue to tolerate the festive, playful, critical and satirical spirit of the popular classes, concretizing in a liberated language and unrepressed comic forms, which they did not hesitate to use. bodies as provocative sexual discourses and their gossip in mocking the prudery and privileges of the different social classes.
The organization of the Carnivals fell on the murgas, groups of disguised people who accompanied them with musical instruments to interpret satirical verses. Among those we can remember in the second half of the XIX century the one formed by the "Boo de Santoña"; that of "The Musicians of the Andalusian Regiment", "the Marina", made up of several local fishermen who sang the Barcarola, a piece of sailor airs. Well into the twentieth century we can talk about "Los Loritos", the murga of "Los Pedreses", "La Serafina", "La Música por los piso", "Los Apaches", etc.
The most vivid memory of the Carnivals is transmitted to us through the elders of the place, they remind us how in the thirties people and troupes from the neighboring provinces were concentrated in Santoña that intermingled with the neighbors, converting the Villa (already then ) in one of the main carnival spots in Northern Spain.
Of all the troupes, (in Santoña they are known by the name of murgas) we make special mention of "Los Parrandistas".
The Parrandistas were thirteen, who were accompanied by three women aguinalderas, without disguise, who sold the verses, previously censored by the authority, and most times sung as they pleased, without fear or modesty. A disguise stood out in the murga, consisting of palometa skins that, sewn together, cover the body. On the head is placed a pommel or a chest. His face was left uncovered, smeared with black, to preserve the identity of the parrandista. The skins were not tanned and gave off a foul smell that was integrated into the party, this scandalized and frightened the people who approached the murga, which produced the consequent laughter and uproar and a grotesque and sympathetic image to which they served as half the scales of the fish caught in the daily work.
This "Los Parrandistas" murga is specifically suited to the marine environment, (it is said that an old woman of the time suggested the costume based on a dovetail) and is of enormous value, not only from the plastic point of view, but also strictly anthropological. , given the scarcity of them that our state folk heritage has, and represents a very important anthropological element from the point of view of its integral parts, perfectly synchronized in their carnival and textual forms.
TRIAL AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA (1934) .-
The song of the Judgment at the Bottom of the Sea, sung by Los Parrandistas in the year 1934, aims to reflect the position of some fishermen with respect to the community as a whole, and invokes the fertility of the seas, listing the most common species and mimicking man with the marine animal, in a symbolic framework of love, fertility and identification with the ecosystem, which regulates the vital economic resources of the small marine communities. And it is a couplet of this murga, that of the "Trial at the Bottom of the Sea", composed by the then Secretary of the City Council, (others say he was the Sheriff), which has made the Santoñés Carnival have an end that makes it unique and distinct. In it the kidnapping of a mermaid by a loving sea bream is told, and the trial to which he is subjected,
As announced by a radio
in the depths of the sea
a zarabanda has been assembled
that has given much to talk about,
Well they say that if a bream
what is an influential fish
of an innocent mermaid
madly it has been undertaken.
And the bream in love
the luggage has bundled
the siren has already kidnapped.
Neptune, god of the seas,
the matter has entrusted
to a green man who is a lawyer.
And my lawsuits have been won
all in the salty sea.
To substantiate the lawsuit
the lawyer has arranged
open an information;
from the tiniest fish
even the most cunning muergo
will give a statement.
The trial will take place
and in the hollow of a rock
and adorned with marlotas
sponges and seaweed.
Four divine sirens
the court will form
and one by one the peoes
before such severe judges
and to the point they will parade.
Of the defense of the defendant
apparently it has been commissioned
an illustrious savage
that is thorny and literate.
Will act in the proceedings
and in a solicitor's plan
a very experienced fish
called the flying fish.
Of the order of this place
with extreme seriousness
will be in charge very formal
a huge swordfish,
two thousand three hundred sea bass
commanded by a luciato
armed with carbines
they will form in that act.
And they are entrusted
to two active soles
and an elegant pajel.
Porretanos and barbels
of juries will act,
and the prisoner with his discharges
acquitted they will testify.
And the room that will be
fixed, boat to boat
suppose it will be found
a cancaricote on duty.
And in strict order
from the dolphin to the slimy
statement will give
luciatos, julias and sulas,
groupers, turbot, julias,
conger eels, whales, goats,
hakes, sandwiches, sardines,
stoners, short guys,
hot dogs, lampreys, weevils,
parsnip, slimy, tench,
tail paint and durdos.
Will also appear
to give a statement
a caila and a cailón,
sea crabs and muergos,
spiny dogfish, trout, lobster,
tacota, carp and oysters.
And if by the court
a complaint is made
in a very formal way
the clam will solve it.
And now to the public we beg,
arm yourself with patience,
Well, very soon the sentence
and the court will dictate
for sure another radio
much less consumption
to the nations of the world
the result will give.
These last stanzas seem like a premonition, a preview, of the advancement of modern techniques in the field of radio broadcasting. Indeed, modern radio stations today speak to us, half a century later, of the sentence of the "trial at the bottom of the sea" and can transmit the outcome of the act; an outcome that the murguistas of yesteryear surely did not foresee: the sea bream is acquitted, despite the opposition of the almighty Neptune, but, what a fatality, it dies of love.
The end of the Santoñés Carnival consists of three fundamental parts: the promenade of the prisoner, the trial at the bottom of the sea, and the burial of the sea bream.
The celebration begins at sunset. The sea bream, a superb piece of three and a half meters, is carried on a cart pulled by a donkey in the Plaza del Peralvillo. Neptune and the thirty-two characters who will later intervene in the act of judgment, contemplate the scene. While the murgas and brass bands of the peñas begin an impressive "chunchun" that will accompany them all the way through the streets of Santoña. This ceremony reminds us of the medieval custom of walking criminals and feathers in front of the people, reminding them of what awaited them in case of committing a criminal act.
During the journey, people address phrases to the sea bream in a less humorous tone related to the task he did to the omnipotent god of the seas. The brilliance of the procession intermingles with the carnival rhythms and the psalms interpreted by supposed priests who have come from "remote places". The vilified defendant is taken to the Fishermen's Guild where he will remain guarded by a luciato and eight sea bass until the time of the trial. Part of the procession at 10.30 pm towards the town's main square, the Plaza de San Antonio, with its trees for arcades. In it, the stage has been installed where the act of the oral trial will be represented. The fish arrive and take their corresponding places in the makeshift room.
In the midst of an impressive silence, an anonymous voice recites the old murga and immediately afterwards, the trial against the enamored sea bream begins. Neptune up on his throne, carrying his trident and surrounded by four mermaids, directs his judgment: "As my name is Neptune - he says to the sea bream - god of the serene sea, I will make you pay for the bad time I spent with your work". With his powerful voice he is giving orders and reminding the fish of the dangers that lie in wait for them, as men, on the surface of the sea, use all their tricks and knowledge to capture them: "with Miche the boatman, be careful! retired, he is a lynx, and fishing for moons by his side there is no equal, it is said, "El verdel, who acts as a prosecutor, and el salreo, a defense attorney, engage in a small dialectic. The first that " says that "Neptune has entrusted him to mercilessly attack a sea bream in love that has kidnapped a deity", while the salvareo "who has traveled the breakwater more times than the good Gelin (Ángel Badiola, ex-mayor of Santoña, who Every morning the Passage is crossed from end to end) ", he makes a reflection and says" this innocent sea bream with a lot of scale and little sight, has entrusted his luck to me, believing me a good lawyer ". Little by little Neptune sends the fish and mollusks up to testify, and asks them about the relationship between the mermaid and the bream to which they all evasively answer. In the answers, popular characters are cited, known for their good tricks in the art of says that "Neptune has entrusted him to mercilessly attack a sea bream in love that has kidnapped a deity", while the salvareo "who has traveled the breakwater more times than the good Gelin (Ángel Badiola, ex-mayor of Santoña, who Every morning the Passage is crossed from end to end) ", he makes a reflection and says" this innocent sea bream with a lot of scale and little sight, has entrusted his luck to me, believing me a good lawyer ". Little by little Neptune sends the fish and mollusks up to testify, and asks them about the relationship between the mermaid and the bream to which they all evasively answer. In the answers, popular characters are cited, known for their good tricks in the art of while the savage "who has traveled the breakwater more times than the good Gelin (Ángel Badiola, ex-mayor of Santoña, who walks the Passage from end to end every morning)", makes a reflection and says "this innocent sea bream with a lot of scale and little sight, he has entrusted his luck to me, believing me to be a good jurist ". Little by little Neptune sends the fish and mollusks up to testify, and asks them about the relationship between the mermaid and the bream to which they all evasively answer. In the answers, popular characters are cited, known for their good tricks in the art of while the savage "who has traveled the breakwater more times than the good Gelin (Ángel Badiola, ex-mayor of Santoña, who walks the Passage from end to end every morning)", makes a reflection and says "this innocent sea bream with a lot of scale and little sight, he has entrusted his luck to me, believing me to be a good jurist ". Little by little Neptune sends the fish and mollusks up to testify, and asks them about the relationship between the mermaid and the bream to which they all evasively answer. In the answers, popular characters are cited, known for their good tricks in the art of
fishing (Picio, Luisa del Milan, Ángel del Dueso, Felix el de los Cámaros, etc.), fishing grounds in the bay, fishing brands, streams and places in the environment, somewhat ironic and funny answers that want to link fantasy of the act, with realities and problems of the place; thus the swordfish reminds us of the abusive use of nets and trammel nets and gives vent to its fury saying: "It makes me want to use my sword against those who destroy my beloved bay",
The representation ends with the absolution of the sea bream and a loving dialogue between it and the siren, which ends with disdain and contempt on her part: "I have neither loved you nor do I love you, nor have I loved you nor do I love you. I am free. , sea bream, "he says," like the foam that escapes the waves, like the song of the man from the sea "and the immense sadness of the sea bream that suffered so much from love and now" that he was finally going to kiss his scales ", he is abandoned for his beloved. It is so sad that the sea bream dies of love.
The fish participating in the act, and the general public sing a farewell song and the burial of the sea bream begins.
The procession is arriving at the place of the final outcome; Santoñesa bay. The shouting becomes less and less, the brass bands stop, the music and the porters with the deceased approach the seashore. The silence becomes total. Some friends throw flowers and crowns into the water and the sea bream is deposited on the soft bed of the place of their misadventures. A fireworks fire him and, as he enters the waters of the bay, the flames are devouring his body. When the fire has fulfilled its objective and the last glow is extinguished, a loud "chunchun" begins on the coast that takes over the silence of the night; is the last gasp. With him dies the carnival with the greatest tradition and popular roots in Cantabria.