Festa da Carbailleira

This is how you throw a big ol’ Galician party:

Find a suitable place in the middle of the forest. An oak grove will do very nicely.

Get a TON of food. If you’re expecting ten people, plan for fifty. If you’re expecting a hundred, you’re going to need lots of wine…

and THOUSANDS of empanadas!

Find someone who plays the pandereta (tambourine)…

and someone else who plays the gaita (bagpipe)…

and then invite a ton of people who feel like dancing. Instant party!

These pictures were from our adventure to the Festa da Carballeira this weekend. A carballeira is an oak grove, and this place is literally in the middle of a forest, outside the tiny town of Zas. Makeshift wooden tables were set up, and folk bands from Galicia, Euskadi, and even Ireland were invited. Churrasco (pork ribs) were roasted, and empanada was hand made, and wine was rolled in in barrels and served in little souvenir clay jugs.

At dusk, the lights came on, the smoke from the fires and the roasting meat wafted up through the trees, and the bands started to play. And people came. And then more people, and more people, and by midnight there was this huge party in the middle of nowhere. It was unseasonably cold for a summer night in August, but no one seemed to care – there were thousands of people dancing and drinking and eating and generally having a very good time (it seems to be a theme here in Galicia).

But when we finally left in the wee hours of the morning, the sound died away as we made our way down the pitch-black street back to our car, and saw the thousands of stars that can’t be seen from Santiago. We could no longer hear the music or see the lights through the trees. It was almost like the party had never existed, like it was some kind of secret meeting in the middle of the forest. That made it that much better.

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