Or how paganism and Christian religion coexist

The relationship between Carnival and Lent are two completely contrasting periods.



Demostations related to Dionysus, from the Greek world, the Roman Bacchanals, Lupercalia or Saturnalia, are figures present in carnival representations. Let's see how they relate to Don Carnal and Doña Cuaresma.



During the Middle Ages, the ecclesiastical authorities wanted to link this pagan festival with the Christian religion. What they made was to coincide the carnival rites with saints' festivities.

Two important points of Lent are fasting from meat and sexual abstinence. On the other hand, the word "carnival" comes from the Latin carne levare or the Latin-Mozarabic carnestolendas, both referring to "removing meat."

Taking into account that the carnival is celebrated before Lent, it would be understood as a reminder of it is coming.

Despite this attempt to sacralize the carnival, it continues mantining its profane meaning. This celebration was also called the Fools Feast during the Middle Ages.



They are two periods with a change in social activities and behaviors.

Chronologically, a period of moral freedom and permissiveness regarding established rules and norms would come first, this would correspond to Carnival.

Later a period of fasting and seclusionwould begin, which in Christianity would mean traditional values.



This confrontation has been represented by dos personajes: Don Carnal and Doña Cuaresma.

Highlighting the portrayal of these two characters in The Book of Good Love by Archpriest of Hita in the passage "Of the fight that Don Carnaval had with Quaresma" and the painting Pieter Brueghel the Elder The Combat between Don Carnal and Doña Cuaresma ..

In the painting, on the right, the Christian values, Doña Cuaresma In the painting, on the right, the Christian values, Doña Cuaresma appears as an old woman with foods from the fasting period such as fish, the baker's peel as a weapon or the beehive on her head for honey. In the same way, the characters who push her wear clothes like religious habits.

On the left is Don Carnal, a fat man on a wine barrel and a cake on his head carrying a spear with a chicken and pig's head inserted. Following him are musicians dressed in bright colors. There are also cards in reference to gambling.



Every year Don Carnal arrives first: fun and joy, it's carnival.

Days later, Lent begins,forty days of abstaining from meat in order to prepare for the arrival of Holy Week.