Monday, 19 January 2009

Las Esquilas de San Antón

The Evening before San Antón (17 Jan). The men of Ansó turn out in force each with a big goat bell - called an esquila- and process around the narrow streets of Ansó banging/ringing the bells. The effect of 30 plus bells clanging in unison is surprisingly moving and it feels like a pagan ceremony - in fact people say that the tradition goes back to pre Christian times. Perhaps it was seen as a defiance of deepest winter and a call for the days to get longer.
In the photo (no flash so a bit blurry) are Jose Amezua and Antonio of the wonderful Mendiara bakers ringing their bells.
We´re having a hard winter - very cold but with the best snow there has been in my 15 years in the valleys.

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