Postcard from... Galicia
Shortly after midnight, a hooded, cloaked figure scurried across the garden of a rural hotel in Galicia, chanting as she joined a group around a cauldron where blue flames flickered.
Rather than black magic, this is a queimada – a centuries-old tradition for warding off evil spirits and witches. And in Spain’s remote north-western region of Galicia, rather than mostly happening on Celtic New Year’s Eve or the summer solstice, queimadas are an oft-repeated year-long tourist attraction, too. The last part is perhaps the most appealing for non-Galicians, given the fiery liquid that produces the blue flames is a mixture of sugar, coffee beans, lemon peel and an entire bottle of an extremely alcoholic local brew called orujo.
Very similar to Italy’s grappa, orujo is obtained by distilling the pomace (the residue from wine-making) in large copper kettles.
When used in a queimada, after the flames have died down and the chants against evil spirits are complete, the heady mixture is drunk.
Queimadas are not the only late-night activity going strong in Galicia: another is the summer rock festival. This weekend, The Undertones, for example, are headlining a beach festival in the remote village of Pontececo – starting at 1am.
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
Wikipedia rocked by 'rogue editors' blackmail scam targeting small businesses and celebrities
More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...