Galician Witches Night Party with Book Presentation by Helena Sotoca

As you might know, Halloween origin is the Celtic “Samaín” or Samhain, and Celtic tribes emerged in what today is Galicia, northwest Spain. But let’s grab these scary topics of witches, meigas, spirits, and sorceresses and celebrate them! Did you know the Galician folklore and myths around “Meigas”? The power of women in that past? If you are curious about it, then keep reading and join us on Tuesday, October 31st, for a fantastic Meigas, Witches and Ghosts Night!!

We’ll start the soirée with the book presentation about Art History from a feminist perspective, “Neither Muses Nor Subservients” with its author Helena Sotoca, followed by a Galician Dinner with Queimada (traditional Galician drink, check it out here) and a costumes party of Witches and Ghosts! Join us for the talk and/or dinner! Dinner registration links below.

Why Meigas, Witches and Ghosts Night?

This evening is to embrace the Spanish Celtic culture. Galicia, the north-western region of the country, was dominated by Celtic tribes, who lived here even before some migrated to today’s British Isles as well as northern France. “Samaín” comes from the Celtic word Samhain, which in Gaelic etymology means “end of summer.” For the Celts, Samhain marked the end of the harvest, the transition to the new year (which began with the dark season) and the opening to the other world. Samaín was the origin of everything. This ancient celebration takes place every year, during the night between October 31 and November 1. They say that night is easier to move between two worlds: that of the living and that of the dead.

On the 31st, we celebrate the Spanish northern folklore in Galicia, the land of meigas (folklore witches), witchcraft, spells and Samaín. This traditional festival of Celtic origins also celebrated in Asturias and León, is what later became Halloween.

Join us for a Galician dinner with Queimada and a costumes party in Club House:

Register here for the Galician Dinner and Queimada

Meiga is the name given in Galicia and neighbouring areas of León and Asturias to the witch or sorceress who has made a pact with the devil and whose task is to “megar” or “enmeigar”; this is, to do evil to people and animals. The oldest reference to the existence of people in Galicia who resort to some type of magic dates to the end of the 13th century, when “sorcerous women” who cast spells and curses on men are mentioned. In the second half of the 16th century, the court of the Spanish Inquisition of Santiago de Compostela persecuted women and condemned them to death as “sorceresses”.

The persecution of women by the Spanish Inquisition led to the stigmatization of women. This can be seen through the paintings of that time. Throughout art history, we see the representation of these stigmatized women, reinforcing their exclusion and forging some ideas of womanhood that persist today, like the “femme fatal”.

Therefore, within the framework of this night dedicated to witches and women, we invite you to a talk with the writer and historian Helena Sotoca, who will present her book “Neither Muses Nor Subservients”, where she talks about art history with a feminist point of view.

Book presentation and Talk with feminist historian and writer Helena Sotoca

Helena Sotoca, better known on social networks as Femme Sapiens, is a communicator of art history with a feminist perspective. Through research work and dissemination of her images, she exposes the gender problems that affect the lives of women and artists. Her first book, “Ni musas ni suminsas” (“Neither Muses Nor Subservients” in EN, Bruguera, 2022), is now in its 6th edition. With it, she shows a deep review of Western art with irony, satire and a feminist point of view, reflecting on issues such as women’s roles, beauty canons or female sexuality in an insubordinate and didactic way.

She collaborates with the newspaper Público, where she brings art to readers by linking it with current affairs in a gender-sensitive manner. In her podcast “La maja sesuda” (“The Brainy Maja” in EN, wordplay of the famous Goya painting “La maja desnuda” or “The Naked Maja”), she interviews referent women while analysing art images. She also collaborates in radio shows in RNE and CatRadio with the section “Mirades divergents” (“Divergent Views” in EN) [1][2]. Check out her work at www.femmesapiens.com and www.instagram.com/femme.sapiens.

Join us in the Auditorium in Club House for the book presentation “Ni musas ni suminsas” and talk with Helena Sotoca at 19:15 h. The presentation will be in Spanish with Q&A in Spanish, Italian or English. FREE ENTRANCE.

In collaboration with the Club Europeo Ispra.

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