In Asturias the festival is known as Antroxu; all originating from Celtic celebrations. The immediate preceding of carnival is still here on Thursday of Comadres. In this day mainly women go out and spend a nice time at the streets during a long night. In other places such as Gijón, Avilés or Pola of Siero, these meetings are also popular and are becoming more and more popular in all the Asturian región.
Time before the participants of the Antroxu usually painted their faces on black colour, using for it burnt cork or soot. It was the cheaper way to get a masquerade. Years ago it was very common to disguise oneself as an animal, taking for it different leathers and skins of animals. At that time, it was also very popular to be dressed in poor clothes like the “probones” or “antroxos” whose ancient gender were the “guirrias” and “zamarrones” (all these characters belong to the Asturian mythology), who usually asked for money at the end of the year. It was also common to be dressed in the opposite sex clothes. Men were dressed up in women’s clothes and women in the other way round. This custom was heavily criticized by the Church for being considered as unmoral.
At present, Avilés is the perfect scene for the International Descend along the Galiana Street. It consists of a procession of floats and items of any type, decorated with naval motives. The crew descends the Galiana Street on Saturday of carnival. This street is full of water and foam. From the carriages people pour water over the spectators and these last take their particular revenge against the others.
In Gijón, carnival officially starts the night of the “Thursday of Comadres”. This is the moment in which the name of the sardine is revealed. From this moment on and during six long days and nights, carnival counts with an extensive programme of activities: competitions of brass bands, floats etc, cultural and recreational activities for all ages. There is a children’s parade on Sunday morning in Begoña and sourrondings but the main one starts on Monday afternoon and people of all kind participates. On Tuesday the Sardine waits for its death, afterwards there is a respectful vigil and after would come the funeral cortège. Sometime later, the testament of the poor Sardine is read and it keeps buried until the following year.
In other places in Asturias Carnaval is celebrated a few days later as it is the case of the Antroxu in Oviedo which is a week later.
During this festivity people can taste a special menu for the occasion: a carnival pot. Numerous restaurants serve it. It is a good stock accompanied by cabbages, beans, potatoes and pork. After this heavy dish we can also taste delicious desserts: the casadielles (local cakes), the frixuelos (other sweet cakes) or rice pudding. This is a suitable menu for saving energy until the end of this celebration.
As well as the so called “Antroxu”, the gastronomy which goes with it also extends for all the corners of this Principado. In the western area the typical dessert is the “rapón”, a cake made of corn and mixed with water, salt, onion and pieces of sausages and bacon. It is also covered with cabbage leaves and baked in the oven. In the Eastern part of this region we can find the “boroñas preñadas”, a type of rolls made of corn, filled with sausages and different kind of meats. The most famous dessert in this area are the “buñuelos” filled with cream or the “rustidos”, tasteful pieces of bread dipped in milk and eggs, after fried and finally sprayed with sugar. It is also typical the picadillo (pork mince meat) and the callos (pork tripes).