Art by StarTwo
Portugal is a land of many traditions and among them, there’s one in particular that has been officially recognized as part of the “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO this month of December 2019! It is none other than the Caretos from Podence, in Trás-os-Montes e Alto-Douro, Portugal. A millenarian tradition celebrated in Winter, but festivities are more intense on Shrove Tuesday and its previous day.
There are several speculations about its origin and it’s believed to have Celtic roots, from a pre-Roman period. Probably related to the existence of the Gallaeci and Bracari in Galicia and North of Portugal.
A rather interesting theory also speaks of the connection to the Roman Saturnalia, the agricultural god Saturn and Lupercalia festivities, in honour of Pan, god of shepherds and flocks. And when you think of satyrs and their chase on the nymphs… Well, let’s keep going.
The Caretos are creatures that blur the lines stipulated by religion and profanity, born yearly when groups of men and boys dress in