1. Food
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Queimada

Fire Drink and Celtic Ritual of Galicia

By

Queimada de Galicia

Queimada de Galicia

Photo Courtesy of Estribiyo, Flickr.com

Queimada, the Ritual

Close your eyes and imagine for a moment that you are standing atop rocks on a cold, wind-swept beach at dusk. As the sun descends into the distant fog, a mist is swirling around you. A bruxo or sorcerer stands in front of you, dressed in animal skins and straw, and wearing a helmet with goat horns on his head. He mumbles something incomprehensible as he lights a liquid on fire in a large clay pot. He then recites a conjuro and begins to play the gaita or bagpipes, occasionally stirring the burning liquid in the pot…

So, where do you think you might be…? In a Celtic village celebrating a Pagan ritual a thousand years ago? Well, you could very likely be in Galicia, Spain celebrating the ritual of La Queimada in the 21st century as Galicians have for hundreds of years! There are many myths and mysteries surrounding the tradition of the queimada, which is thought to have originated in ancient times when Celts established villages and settled in the region of Galicia.

Today queimada continues to be prepared and lit afire in clay pots for gatherings with family and friends - not always in a bruxo costume. As one Spaniard put it, "Any excuse is a good one for a queimada."

Queimada, the Fire Drink

Orujo, a traditional Galician liqueur made from the residue of wine production is the main ingredient in queimada. The orujo, bits of lemon peel, sugar and coffee beans are put into a clay pot, then lit on fire. Eventually, when the flames turn blue, the fire is put out and the drink is served in small ceramic cups.

The Conjuro or "Spell"

Traditionally, as the alcohol in the queimada burns, the following is recited in Gallego, the language of Galicia. It is a call to the earth, wind, sea and fire to purify the drink and share it with souls of family and friends who cannot be here to enjoy the queimada. This is the Spanish version:

Búhos, lechuzas, sapos y brujas.
Demonios maléficos y diablos, espíritus de las nevadas vegas.
Cuervos, salamandras y meigas, hechizos de las curanderas.
Podridas cañas agujereadas, hogar de gusanos y de alimañas.
Fuego de las almas en pena, mal de ojo, negros hechizos, olor de los muertos, truenos y rayos.
Ladrido del perro, anuncio de la muerte; hocico del sátiro y pie del conejo.
Pecadora lengua de la mala mujer casada con un hombre viejo.
Infierno de Satán y Belcebú, fuego de los cadáveres en llamas, cuerpos mutilados de los indecentes, pedos de los infernales c-los, mugido de la mar embravecida.
Vientre inútil de la mujer soltera, maullar de los gatos en celo, pelo malo y sucio de la cabra mal parida.
Con este cazo levantaré las llamas de este fuego que se asemeja al del infierno, y huirán las brujas a caballo de sus escobas, yéndose a bañar a la playa de las arenas gordas
. ¡Oíd, oíd! los rugidos que dan las que no pueden dejar de quemarse en el aguardiente quedando así purificadas.
Y cuando este brebaje baje por nuestras gargantas, quedaremos libres de los males de nuestra alma y de todo embrujamiento.
Fuerzas del aire, tierra, mar y fuego, a vosotros hago esta llamada: si es verdad que tenéis más poder que la humana gente, aquí y ahora, haced que los espíritus de los amigos que están fuera, participen con nosotros de esta queimada.

  1. About.com
  2. Food
  3. Spanish Food
  4. Wine & Drinks
  5. Queimada - Fire Drink and Ritual of Galicia - Queimada - Galician Fire Drink and Ritual

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.