In times of the coronavirus, when even cultural events seem to give way to their progress, the inhabitants of a small town in Granada take their masks to keep their grandparents' legacy alive and celebrate their unique Carnival, one of the oldest in Spain.
Declared a Festival of Andalusian Tourist Interest, the Carnival of Alhama de Granada gave its starting gun last Sunday, with the traditional proclamation, which always stars a character linked to the history of the event; on this occasion, two women that only their most intimate could recognize under the mask and disguise.
Then, through its streets crowded with residents and visitors, murgas and parades formed by neighbors singing folk songs that review, in an ironic and satirical way, the most notorious events that occurred in the town during the year.
Children, young, adults and elders are involved in the party that best represents the popular and folk identity of the Jameños, whose origin converges with the Greek and Roman pagan celebrations, but re-adapted in times of Franco, when the locals covered their faces to launch criticism that defied authority.
At present, its main attraction is still those masks, taken from old trunks to dress in old clothes and “catetas”, cover your face with a rag so that your neighbors do not know them and shout with squeaky voice the famous phrase “Oh how clumsy, you don't know me.”
The festive atmosphere will last all week, until next March 1, “Domingo de Piñata”, one of the most representative moments of the Carnival, when all the local formations and visitors get on stage to sing their repertoire.
In addition, the V Jameñas Masks Contest “José Mancebo” and the XIX Carnival Photography Contest “Tony Raya” will be held, which rewards the hundreds of photographers who are thrown into the street during these days to immortalize that moment that “reflects to perfection the idiosyncrasy of this party”.
Alhama de Granada is a Spanish municipality, belonging to the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalucía. It is located in the western part of the Alhama region, at the foot of the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park.
In addition to its carnival, the town is known for its Arab thermal baths, seated on the remains of the Roman baths, from which comes its own name, al-Hama, (meaning "the bath") and which would give rise to the current Spa.