What to see in Corcubión

Corcubion, land of calm and bravery

Cultural Heritage

Parrandas of Corcubión

Ethnological heritage

The Parrandas were one of the traditions that took place in the past in Corcubión during the months of June and July. The information we know about the parrandas is thanks to the publication of some articles by the school teacher of the town, D. Juan Díaz Fernández, in the Revista Nerio (Nerio’s Magazine), published in Corcubión in 1920. In several articles (numbers 2, 3, 5 and 8) he explained what this peculiar tradition consisted of.

The origin of this tradition is not known with certainty, as after the attacks by Napoleon's troops during the War of Independence in 1809 all the parish, Town Hall and private archives were lost, as the fire in Corcubión caused by the French, as D. Juan Díaz Fernández says "they left no more building standing than a single house to testify to future generations the ignominious perfidy of those who defended Freedom, Law and Justice".

According to the publications of this school teacher, during the years of celebration of this tradition, from the beginning of June until the 25th of July the village of Corcubión was divided into two sides: Río-Seco and Granada; the first covered the northern part of the village and the second the southern end, from a small stream that crosses it. On Sunday evenings and other festivities during this period, the girls of each side would gather together accompanied by the boys who sympathized with one or the other side and would go through the streets with tambourines, castanets and other instruments, addressing each other in often insulting ways.

During the festivities of San Juan and San Pedro this celebration reached its peak. On the eve of these days, all those on each side met in their respective camps: those from Río-Seco in the cruceiro in the San Antonio’s atrium, called "Cabo da Vila"; those from Granada in the cruceiro in Campo del Rollo. When each side was in its corresponding place, "the queen of the foliada" took the chair, who used to be the one who sang the best or distinguished herself by her enthusiasm in the preparation of the festival (foliada means an evening gathering of people to have fun, sing and dance to traditional music). Next to her sat the girls who formed her court of honour, called the “fairies of the festival”, dressed in white with coloured stripes and all wearing their highly decorated tambourines, while those in charge of dancing wore their castanets. The men who belonged to the navy wore the white navy costume.

When everything was ready, the bonfire was lit on each side and the dance began. At midnight, the Granada side left their camp and went out with their supporters through the streets of the town, towards the Río-Seco side, singing songs in ancient Galician and shouting, between song and song, ¡Viva Granada! and ¡Abajo Rioseco! As they reached the enemy's territory, the whole Río-Seco celebration and the songs of the Granada side reached their most intense moment, as while some sang offensive songs, the others responded in the same way, all preparing to throw out their opponents if they dared to cross the limits of the cruceiro.

After this, the Granada side went back to their camp. When they were halfway back to Campo do Rollo, the Río-Seco side would leave their camp and head for the opposite side, singing songs that were usually a response to what their opponents had sung before.

When they arrived at the camp in Granada, the same thing happened as in the camp in Río-Seco: this side followed the same route around the Campo do Rollo cruceiro, because if they crossed the limit between the cruceiro and the bonfire, a fight could take place between the two sides, which in other years had bloodied the streets of Corcubión.

To avoid possible clashes, the mayor used to go with the police officers and with the full force of the Civil Guard post, leading the first of the two sides that used to begin de journey, leaving a couple behind as they passed through Río-Seco, and continuing with the rest until the starting point, where shortly after they were visited by the opposing side they were dissolved by the authorities.

Even so, despite all the precautions, one of the years there was a brawl between the two sides that caused some deaths and other victims, including a Civil Guard who lost a leg and several neighbours who were imprisoned.

On the days of San Juan and San Pedro, the same routes were repeated. On the afternoon of the latter festival, both sides went to San Roque, where the San Pedro de Redonda’s festivity was (and is) celebrated. Each side went by a different route and at different times, making their foliadas, and after dancing all afternoon, each side in its own area, the Granada side began its return to the village. Fifteen minutes later the Río-Seco side did the same, passing by the base camp of the enemy side. After some rest, the party continued in the cruceiros of both sides until eleven o'clock at night, when they made the same journey from one camp to the other. It must be said that the music on San Pedro’s day was more joyful than that the one of San Juan.

After San Pedro's Day, the agitation slowed down until the 25th of July, when both parrandas embarked to cross the estuary and head for the parish of Ameixenda (Cee), where the festivities of their patron saint, Santiago, were held. After spending the afternoon there dancing and singing in rivalry, when the sun set both sides put aside their antagonisms and embraced each other, returning to their village singing happy songs that lasted until well into the night.

In these articles published by the school teacher Díaz Fernández in the Revista Nerio (Nerio’s Magazine), he claims not to know for sure the origin of this tradition. It is probable that it is a medieval tradition from when there were two noble houses that exercised their lordship in this region and which, due to their rivalries and political struggles also had the people divided into two sides. These two lords would probably be, on the one hand, the Trastámara Archdeacon, Lord of Río-Seco, who ruled over the northern part of Corcubión, Cee and other villages and, on the other hand, his opponent, the Count of Altamira and Granada, who ruled over the southern part of Corcubión and the parishes of Sardiñeiro, Duio and Fisterra and many others in the Judicial Party and beyond.

In these publications, the school teacher also comments that the rivalry between the two lords was supposed to have its origin in the struggles that took place in the 14th century between Don Pedro I, El Cruel, and Don Enrique II of Trastámara, as each was from a different party. The different songs that were sung in reference to these events are proof of this. Tradition says that it was the marriage of two branches of both families that brought peace between them and their supporters.