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The Magosto in Galicia

The Magosto
• In the modern world that surrounds us, we
tend to forget about the primary place nature
should have in our lives, if we observe
thouroughly some popular traditions that still
survive ,we shall be able to see the
importance that the relationship between
men and nature has always had; men were
aware of the utter importance of that bond
for their own survival, they therefore
wouldn't hesitate to honour it with different
rituals. For instance, one of those ancient
rites, the one between men and the chestnut
tree, is still being held in Galicia every
autumn and is called the “Magosto.
Magosto’s Origins
• It is a very old tradition which could have started in the Paleolitic
era and which would have been intended to celebrate a fruit which
was the main food supply at that time.
• Then, as the chestnut season happens to be at the same time as
the “samahaim” ritual (equivalent to Halloween) which the celtic
tribes used to celebrate in order to sooth the other world's powers
and ask for abundance in their harvest, they simply joined the two
celebrations. The ritual was held in the middle of the forest as the
Celts didn't have proper temples: their ceremonies were held in a
clearing in the forest. Furthermore, we know thanks to the greek
poet Homer, that in the celtic religion, the druids worshipped the
chestnut tree as it was considered a ‘fruit given by the gods’.
When the Romans arrived the tradition expanded as it was
celebrated at the same time as the “saturnalia”, which is the
reason why for a long time it was commonly believed that the
chestnut had been introduced to Spain by the romans.
How do you prepare a
magosto??
• The first step is to get chestnuts which are in
abundance in November. Then we have to light
a fire (sometimes with laurel tree branches) to
roast them; the chestnuts are put inside a
metal pan that has holes in the bottom. Before
putting the chestnuts inside it, you have to cut
them open a little bit so they won't explode or
crack open because of the heat. Finally, you
spread the chestnuts in the pan and roast them.
Once roasted, you peal them while they are
still hot and eat immediately.
The chesnut tree
• For a long time, the belief was that the chestnut had come
from the East, and that it had been introduced into Europe
during the roman empire. But recent studies show that
chestnut trees were already in Europe long before the roman
era.
• The chestnut tree prefers cool and sheltered within a
template but humid climate. It can easily be found in the
South of England, the Caspian Sea, the iberian Peninsula, the
Canary Islands, the North of Morroco and Algeria. It can also
be found in the North of Germany, in the USA, in China and
Japan.
• Like the majority of its family, dry fruits, the chestnut is a
typical food during autumn. Its callory content is lower
because it's fat content is also lower, nevertheless it
presents a higher amount of carbohydrates. It was the main
nutrient until corn and potatoes arrived in Europe. due to
that from the XVIth century on, the chestnut lost the
importance it had once had.