Galician culture

Galician culture
   Shaping influences on Galician culture include: galego, the Galician language closely related to Portuguese, dialects of which (including castrapismo, a part-Castilian dialect) are used by the vast majority of its population; a medieval legacy of religious patronage, associated notably with El Camino de Santiago and rapid monastic expansion; identification with a Celtic prehistory inspired by folklore and archaeological studies; a strong emotional attachment to the land (see also minifundia) and sea, and the related experiences of human loss, through famine, drowning and emigration; resistance to the Franco regime through the persistence of Galician cultural activism; the institutionalization and subsidy of culture by the Xunta de Galicia; and intermittent openness to ideas emanating from across the peninsula and abroad.
   The recovery of the Galician past was a key project of a national cultural movement in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. One early exponent was Rosaliá de Castro who expressed in poetry that most Galician of emotions, saudade: the sense of longing left behind by loss. The rexurdimento (renaissance) was reinforced by the success of the literary magazine Nós before the Civil War and rekindled after 1950 by the Galaixa publishing house. A key figure was Alfonso Castelao whose life (as author, artist and politician), death (exiled during the Franco era) and posthumous return (reburied in Galicia after democratic change) encapsulated the experience of his generation (Xeneracion Nós). Feeding the past into contemporary Galician culture has taken place along many paths. These vary in form from the hints of pagan iconography evident in the shapes and painted patterns of modern Sargadelos ceramics to the special personal requests made to the spirits of the dead at the romérias (festivals) held annually in the village of San Andreas de Texido. The most ubiquitous cultural symbol of the past is probably the gaitas (bagpipes) from the Celticinspired folk music scene, and popularized particularly by groups such as Milladoiro in recent decades. In literature, Alvaro Cunqueiro's writings re-enter the magical world of the Galician medieval troubadours through journeys into the myths and legends of the past. Carlos Casares is one of those post-war poets and novelists who helped to open Galician writing to international and "avant-garde" influences. The poetry and novels of young writers, notably Manuel Rivas, display a new self-confident exploration of Galician identity whose works confront the traditional past of Galicia with experiences of modern consumerism and technology-shaped change. Such writers have reexplored old Galician literary themes of migration, longing and loss, albeit less hidebound by traditional imagery.
   The Xunta de Galicia has subsidized cultural activities across the autonomía. Most notably, it has implemented education policies to extend the use of galego, established RTVG (Radio and Television Galego) in 1985, published a wide range of Galician archaeological, historical and literary works and funded art exhibitions. While arguably more successful at preserving the cultural past than stimulating current cultural production, the Xun-ta's support for the Museo de Arte Contempar-anea, opened up alongside the Museo do Pobo Gallego (folklore museum), symbolizes its awareness of the various facets of Galician culture today.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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