Festivities and traditions

jueves, 26 de febrero de 2015

Raffles Dances (On the weekend after 25th December)

Raffles Dances

At the end of XIX century, “Raffles Dances” and “Souls Dances” took place in the Ermita Nueva Square, in the Barrio de Cuevas of Guadix, during the evenings in Christmas. They were organised by Ntra. Sra. de Gracia Brotherhood, the Patron of the neighbourhood.

It was traditionally that any person among those present offered a monetary donation for a particular man to dance with a chosen Lady. The donor said: “I give 25 or more reales so that whatshisname (the chosen name) dances with that lady”. The donations was collected in a trap, brought by a member of the Ntra. Sra. de Gracia Brotherhood. At this moment the “Floreo” character was present, who pointed at chosen people and told them the dance offer made by the donor. The most tragic moments were lived when the companion, husband or boyfriend refused his wife danced with any boy or even when the bidding between the offered and the named started. He used to equalise the offered donation for not dancing. The donor started to bid the first donation and the person affected equalised or bid the amount. In this way, the bid between them reached very tense moments.

For this reason, some aspects were modified, changing the naming for dancing by “cane blows”, made by the “Floreo” to the named. The bid continued but not for dancing, but because of the number of “cane blows” which would be given to the named. The new manner was: I GIVE, OR WE GIVE, 25, 50… OR MORE PESETAS SO THAT HE GIVES 2, 3 … “CANE BLOWS” TO WHATSHISNAME (WITH THE CANE THAT THE “FLOREO” HAD DURING ALL THE CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS).

The existence of these Christmas celebrations were shown in the “El Niño de la Bola” work, by the Guadix writer Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, in 1878, where he immortalized the “Raffles Dances” celebrated in the Ermita Nueva.

These dances were celebrated until 1970, when the “Rondalla de Ntra. Sra. de Gracia” (the musicians), which livened up these dances, was broken up. Nowadays, it has been recovered (on Christmas 2006) and it is celebrated on the weekend after 25th December in the Ermita Nueva of the Barrio de Cuevas in Guadix. The “Floreo” character is embodied by Cascamorras and dances, dominated by the “Niño de la Bola” statue, are enlivened by music groups of this area.