Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Beverage of Druids

Witches, Demons, Evil spirits and nasty leprechauns! Behold! Read no further for you will find here only your doom…

One of my favorite regions in Spain is Galicia, located on the North-Western tip, right above Portugal. It is the wettest part of the country and also home of Celtic traditions and culture. Yes.. Celtic.

Some even dare say that Celts originated from that region in Spain and colonized later Ireland and Brittany (no wonder as the weather and landscape are very similar in those places).

Anyway, while walking on the Camino de Santiago and after reaching Galicia, I made a very fortunate discovery: The local traditional alcoholic beverage… Queimada!

This ancient beverage was prepared during pagan festivals and gatherings by the Celtic druids. It is a kind of punch made from Orujo (a distilled spirit prepared from the remains of grapes used for the wine) mixed with lemons, coffee beans, cinnamon and sugar. All these ingredients are then mixed together in a big container and set alight while the druids recited a magical incantation.

The purpose of this drink (other than celebrating and getting wasted) was to keep evil spirits and witches away from the villages.

I was lucky to be able to attend a town celebration with plenty of Spanish grilled food like chorizo and churrascos given away for free, as well as a Queimada incantation. I was entirely mesmerized by the blue flames while the whole town was dancing next to a transformers-like truck that turned into a huge concert stage. The preparation took a while, roughly about 30 to 40 minutes.

Lucky enough, the townsmen were already pretty drunk from beer and wine so nobody was interested much in drinking the punch, which we gladly finished between us! It was DELICIOUS! (and strong.. wow..).

And yes, It did work, I did not cross any witches during the next month! *hips* Cheers!

Here is the translated version of the incantation, looks like it came straight out of a fairytale!

Owls, white-owls, toads and witches.
Demons, goblins and devils,
spirits of the misty vales.
Crows, salamanders and mages,
charms of the medics.
Rotten pierced canes,
home of worms and vermin.
Wisps of the Holy Company,
evil eye, black witchcraft,
scent of the dead, thunder and lightning.
Howl of the dog, omen of death,
maws of the satyr and foot of the rabbit.
Sinful tongue of the bad woman
married to an old man.
Satan and Beelzebub's Inferno,
fire of the burning corpses,
mutilated bodies of the indecent ones,
farts of the arses of doom,
bellow of the enraged sea.
Useless belly of the unmarried woman,
speech of the cats in heat,
dirty turf of the wicked born goat.
With this bellows I will pump
the flames of this fire
which looks like that from Hell,
and witches will flee,
straddling their brooms,
going to bathe in the beach
of the thick sands.
Hear! Hear the roars
of those that cannot
stop burning in the firewater,
becoming so purified.
And when this beverage
goes down our throats,
we will get free of the evil
of our soul and of any charm.
Forces of air, earth, sea and fire,
to you I make this call:
if it's true that you have more power
than people,
here and now, make the spirits
of the friends who are outside,
take part with us in this Queimada


Here is also a video of the ritual:

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