Cock Festival

Cock Festival

February 2
Popular throughout Castilla and northern Spain, the Fiesta del Gallo, or Cock Festival, usually takes place on Candlemas, and it symbolizes the renewal of life or of the harvest. It involves two groups of young people, 12 men and 12 women, who together comprise a kingdom, or reinado, with a king and queen who officiate at this and other festivals throughout the year. Young ladies, clothed in white garments and led by the queen, exit the church immediately after the mass and proceed to the town square carrying a live cock. There they meet the mayor of the village whose permission they must ask to kill the cock.
Just how the killing takes place varies from town to town. Sometimes the cock is tied by the legs to a pole, and the queen attacks it with a wooden sword. Sometimes it's buried in the ground with just its head showing. Any young man who wishes to try may be blindfolded, turned around several times, and allowed to attack the cock if he can find it. In some villages of northern Spain, blindfolded men on horseback strike at the cock with wooden swords as it swings from a rope that has been stretched across the street. After the cock is killed, there is a feast.
CONTACTS:
Tourist Office of Spain
666 Fifth Ave., 35th Fl.
New York, NY 10103
212-265-8822; fax: 212-265-8864
www.okspain.org
SOURCES:
DictFolkMyth-1984, p. 1062
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