FEAST OF THE MAGI OF SALSAS
FEAST OF THE MAGI OF SALSAS The masquerades take place between New Year's Day and the feast of the Magi. Every evening, the “caretos” (devilish, traditional creatures) go looking for young girls in the streets and homes, and pretend to “punish” them. They also go round looking for sausages for the party. The “caretos” enter into scene on New Year's Day. The rest of days before the 6th of January, at dusk, they go around the villages looking for girls. In an atmosphere of total (but somewhat restrained) freedom, imagination runs wild, while they perform the rite of the “cencerrada”, that consists of making noise with cowbells. The night of the Feast of the Magi, a rite called “peditório”, in the name of the souls of the deceased, takes place. The stewards join the “caretos” and look for a group of youth and children that go guising and singing around the village, collecting money, sausages, smoked meat and other traditional products. After the traditional “peditório” all inhabitants gather in the public facilities of the village for the party. They eat, drink and dance cheerfully; in winter time both the spirit and the body need being liven up.
Hunting and fishing fair at Bragança, North Portugal
Traditional beehives, from north Portugal, made of cork
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.
The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.
Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".
Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.
Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights.
In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states.
Text by Steve Smith.