Experiencing traditional Spanish Queimada


Fire blazed in the darkness, our faces illuminated in the cool night air. I felt a breeze across my neck and heard faint cackling coming from behind me. I turned aroud at lightening speed to see Witches surrounding us, uttering a Galician spell as the strong smell of alcohol burnt my nostril.

No I was not in a horror movie, I was about to experience traditional Spanish Queimada!

The masters of ceremonies at Pueblo Ingles kept maiing hints towards ‘Queimada’. Most of the Anglos had no idea what he was going on about but a few of the Spaniards had an inkling; they kept it quiet so not to spoil the suprise.

Queimada is a Galician tradition. Galicia is an autonomous community in NorthWest Spain and it even has its own language, Galician!

Queimada is a very alcoholic punch made from Galician augardente and flavoured with fruits, herbs, lemon peel, sugar and even coffee!


Many ingredients can be used for Queimada

When the master of ceremonies was preparing the punch in a large bowl, a member of staff and some fellow Anglos and Spaniards suprised us by coming out from no where dressed as witches! They recited a traditional spell whilst looking as creepy as possible! The spell ensures that those drinking the queimada get ‘special powers’ from it and that any bad spirits are scared away! Oooooh!

File:Queimada fuego.jpg

Queimada has an unusual blue flame whilst it’s being prepared

It was all very alian for me but I relished taking part in a Spanish tradition.

The punch itself was Very alcoholic! Even sniffing it brought tears to my eyes! I persevered and drank a glass or two. I am English after all! An American friend called Max drank 6 cups of the stuff; suprisingly he could still walk after!

What a fun experience!

The Spell that is read out during the preparation of Queimada!

In Galician language In English

Mouchos, curuxas, sapos e bruxas.

Demos, trasgos e diaños,

espíritos das neboadas veigas.

Corvos, píntegas e meigas:

feitizos das menciñeiras.

Podres cañotas furadas,

fogar dos vermes e alimañas.

Lume das Santas Compañas,

mal de ollo, negros meigallos,

cheiro dos mortos, tronos e raios.

Ouveo do can, pregón da morte;

fuciño do sátiro e pé do coello.

Pecadora lingua da mala muller

casada cun home vello.

Averno de Satán e Belcebú,

lume dos cadáveres ardentes,

corpos mutilados dos indecentes,

peidos dos infernais cus,

muxido da mar embravecida.

Barriga inútil da muller solteira,

falar dos gatos que andan á xaneira,

guedella porca da cabra mal parida.

Con este fol levantarei

as chamas deste lume

que asemella ao do Inferno,

e fuxirán as bruxas

a cabalo das súas vasoiras,

índose bañar na praia

das areas gordas.

¡Oíde, oíde! os ruxidos

que dan as que non poden

deixar de queimarse no augardente

quedando así purificadas.

E cando este beberaxe

baixe polas nosas gorxas,

quedaremos libres dos males

da nosa alma e de todo embruxamento.

Forzas do ar, terra, mar e lume,

a vós fago esta chamada:

se é verdade que tendes máis poder

que a humana xente,

eiquí e agora, facede que os espíritos

dos amigos que están fóra,

participen con nós desta Queimada.

Owls, barn owls, toads and witches.

Demons, goblins and devils,

spirits of the misty vales.

Crows, salamanders and midges,

charms of the folk healer(ess).

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 asses 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.


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I’m a twenty something podiatrist with new found wanderlust. Follow me as I prepare for my trip of a lifetime to Dubai, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and wherever else the world takes me. https://www.facebook.com/StephanieAndSeek https://twitter.com/Stephandseek

2 thoughts on “Experiencing traditional Spanish Queimada”

  1. What a cool tradition! That blue flame must have been amazing to see first hand. I’d be interested to see how it tastes – all of the ingredients sound like they would combine well together except the coffee – I love coffee, but I can’t imagine how it would taste in this context!

  2. When the Master of Ceremonies was mixing the Queimada, he kept lifting the ladel then pouring it back in from a height, It looked cool with all of the blue flames rising but quite dangerous!

    The taste is err, overpowering! Even the smell could get you drunk! Most people there had a sip and didn’t drink more. I quite liked it although it is a very strong flavour!

    It’s certainly a quirky Spanish tradition!

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