It is a great honor for me to be able to participate in this international cake collaboration that celebrates the wonderful culture of this country that I consider my second home.
Portugal opened its doors to me and nowadays it is my country too.
I decided for this collaboration, to make something different from what everyone knows. The Caretos de Podence, originates from the village of Podence, in the municipality of Macedo de Cavaleiros and when our dear Elisabete Caseiro invited me to be part of this project, the Caretos had recently been declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, on December 12, 2019.
They are a very old festival, held in winter, characteristic in the Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro region.
Podence’s Caretos represent devilish and mysterious images that go out into the street during the carnival festivities. They are noisy and cheating, interrupting the long silences of winter, as if appearing secretly and unpredictably from corners of Podence, they are noisy and frantic touching the rattles well crossed on their colored fringes of thick blankets.
The event puts two marks on the calendar: one that celebrates the end of the dead winter (of a pagan character), the other that precedes the sobriety of Lent (of a Christian character).
On Fat Sunday and Carnival Tuesday, the boys of the village incarnate these characters wearing colorful costumes, made with fringed bedspreads, and covering their faces with tin, wood or leather masks, with pointed noses. They fasten rattles and bells around their waists and, full of energy, they run through the village jumping and screaming. One of the main reasons for running around is finding girls to dance with and “rattle” them. So, they have fun, protected by anonymity.
I really like the pagan traditions that are still strong within the culture of a country and my way of celebrating was to create this piece in sugar paste and modeling paste, full of color and texture.
Hope you like it!
-- Cristina Arévalo- The Art Cake Experience