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Etnography and Popular Culture E-mail

Traditional Games.

Bowling in Campo Xunclos, Rioseco. 1900

An important part of the culture of Redes is the traditional sports, which are linked with the rural life of its inhabitants. Nowadays, the only ones that remain are bowling and the <<frog>>. Bowling is being recovered as a traditional game, several bowling allies have been reconstructed, for example that one in Bezanes, Linares, Campo de Caso, Villamorey, Campiellos, Soto de Agues and Rioseco. There are now championships between the different towns of the park.

The importance of bowling in Redes is reflected in the toponymy. Some of the names of towns are related in some way to bowling, for example, El Xugu los Bolos, in Soto de Agues, El Xuegu La Bola, in Campiellos, El Xugaeru, in La Maya de los Casares, in the mountain of Llaímu. In Los Pandanes, in the mountain Llaimo, were the mine of El Carmen was situated, and in the buildings that still exist there, there is a bowling alley, used by the miners when they stayed in the mountain, and did not return to the towns.

The type of bowling is called cuatreada, which is considered to have been invented, and mainly practised in Asturias. The game consists in hitting wooden sticks that are standing on the ground, by a wooden ball from a certain distance. There are 10 sticks, of which nine have a height of 52 centimetres, and one called biche, of 28 centimetres. The ball weights approximately between 500 and 800 grams, therefore apart from concentration and aim, it is necessary to have strength.

The game of the frog consists of a table with a metal frog and several holes in which the player try to put ten metal pieces.

The rest of traditional sports, such as milkmaid races, cutting wood with an axe… have disappeared and are only practised in exhibitions.

Traditional Bowling Alley

 

 Traditional Clothing

The traditional clothes were made in a similar fashion to the rest of central Asturias. Generally, they are made at home, mainly using wool and linen. The farmers always have a part of their land dedicated to the cultivation of linen, which, once treated with les restielles, was taken to the loom to get large pieces of fabric to make sheets, shirts, underwear… The wool was also transformed and worked at home. After the ship had been sheered and the wool washed, it was spun in the afternoons by groups of women, or in the loneliness of the long winter evenings. It was used for socks, tights, or once taken to the loom, to produce larger pieces, it was used for coats or blankets. These fabrics were dying using mainly dyed for certain plants, such as the skin of onions, which limited the amount of colours used.

Other kinds of material, such as cotton, were more expensive and were bought of traders who visited the towns on a regular basis. Most of the cotton was bought in small quantities, for example, for napkins, headscarves…

Traditional Clothing of Asturias

The traditional male costume is a waistcoat, long johns that go under the knees, and covering the stomach and kidneys, a tight wide belt. In cold days, they wear the costume with a jacket. The head is always covered, using different types of hats. The most common were the beret, and the wing hat. The underwear, normally made of linen, was composed of a shirt, also used to sleep in, long johns, and woollen socks, which covered most of the legs, and were held with strips, also made of wool and tied to the legs.

Like the men, the women wore a long shirt, long johns, woollen tights, and a petticoat. Over the shirt they wore a very tight bodice. They used long shirts, and over them they wore a thin, dark material to protect the skirt for dirt. Over it all they wore an apron for cooking and cleaning. To cover the back, the stomach and the kidneys they wore a shawl, normally of a dark colour. The head was covered by a headscarf of four spikes, or cut in a triangular shape.

Jewellery was a mark of social status and was very sought for by the women. Normally, they would have earrings, but many songs mention how precious the jet and corals were. Finally, for footwear, it was the same for men and woman, normally used woollen slippers inside madreñas. On some occasions those that could afford it would sometimes wear shoes.

Traditional Dances

Traditional Dances

Dancing was not only an activity of the fiestas, the people of Redes also danced all Sundays, except from lent, in which there was a rigorous silence.

The dances were performed in the main square, weather permitting. If not, in a house. All the young people attended these events. It normally started at 4 pm, and would go on until 10 at night, and during that time, they did not stop dancing. Various instruments accompanied the dancing, depending on the town. It could be a woman singing, a bagpipe, a special kind of bagpipe called zanfona, a type of mandolin called rabel… The simplest dances, in which everyone participated, were the couples dancing, such as Tras-trastera, a song that indicated the steps, the guirandilla, accompanied by traditional songs such as a la mar fui por naranjas, lyrics were also improvised. There were also dances in circles, such as les dances, although the most popular one was the geringosa, in which one by one, people would go and dance in the middle. The most characteristic of these was the jota casina, but only those who could dance very well would dare to participate. The elders say that it had up to 26 different changes or steps, but nowadays only four remain.

New dances were introduced progressively, like the tango, bolero… and traditional instruments were substituted by bands, who did not play many jotas.

Music and dance was not only enjoyed in fiestas. It was common that in different family groupings, friends or neighbour meetings such as the sextaferias, el samartín, someone would start singing, and people dancing. It was very popular for young men to improvise melodies to impress the women, and the women to answer back.

Other more simple instruments, used by children in their games, were types of homemade flutes.

 

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