Carnival as a popular festive manifestation has roots that are difficult to pin down, because the memory by oral transmission has been lost over time. In this sense, in Santoña there are no written records beyond those that appear in local periodicals from the end of the last century, such as the "Eco de Santoña" which describes the carnival of 1892 as follows:
"They say that carnivals are in the doldrums,
it is not true, because it seems to me that they are
even without capes, judging by this year.
Despite being the truly
spring time, there have not reached half a dozen
costumes who have been through the streets of this
village, and all of them have been none that
has attracted attention.
the Choral Society and the military band formed a
estudiantina that caught enough attention and
was widely applauded that estudiantina, for
reasons We do not know he could not go to Castro,
as we had announced
The masked balls of the Liceo Casino,
Juventud Santoñesa and La Peña society,
They were very animated, as well as those of the
Spanish café and José Bonet.
On Piñata's day, the Orfeón toured the streets of
the town. And until another year. "
As is evident from this and other references from the first years of the 20th century, at that time the carnival and its costumes clung to the halls of the town and although it was a festive period of time celebrated in large numbers by people of all conditions social, it had no street character. But let's see how the party passed in that month of March 1892 in the different rooms of the town:
"THE CARNIVALS OF SANTONA AT THE CASINO LICEO"
"Everything does not have to be City Hall, sometime I have to be a magazine rack, even if I do it wrong. And without preamble I will tell you what I saw.
In the first dance a lot of animation, a lot of pretty faces, good music, few masks and less jokes. The second I did not know as soon as I entered the room. Antithesis of the previous one, everything was caps of whimsical shapes and cuts, there were cool ones that looked real, but the most notable was the magnificent collection of masks that caught the attention of Terpsicore fans for the beauty and beauty of their faces, and for That everything contrasted with the night before there were far superior jokes and of course, the colors came out to our faces. I will not mention the girls who attended the dances because I would have to list all the beautiful Santoñesas who wore all their beauty and elegance in those dances ... To finish, I send my congratulations to the President of the Casino from these columns,
I hope that it will soon be very crowded on the right track so that young people can spend evenings as delicious as those of these previous nights ".
"THE CARNIVALS IN SANTOÑESA YOUTH"
"The dances held in this recreation center on Carnival Sunday and Tuesday and Piñata Sunday have truly been magnificent; a lot of animation, a lot of hustle and bustle and many masks.
But the Piñata dance has been the« non plus ultra »of all those celebrated in this society, what beautiful women! what elegant costumes ... what «maremagnum.»
If I were to describe all the costumes I would need all of The Echo, but I also do not want to overlook some who truly called the
attention. I saw one of the reapers ... which was the sea, others of letter machines, Jerez bartenders, cool ones, etc. Abbe and Enrique III who will not let me lie, as well as the costumes of Rigoleto and Sergeant Federico that they liked a lot.
There was also a large assortment of hoods and cool with more or less grace, in short a complete medley.
At ten o'clock the dance began, and at eleven it was not possible to take a step in the room, and the couples were fighting while dancing. ..and at three in the morning it ended in the middle of the greatest animation. As we left the room with a sad heart for having finished the carnivals, we couldn't help but exclaim. And now for another year! ".
In the early years of the 20th century, carnivals continued to be based on masked balls, animated by orchestras playing waltzes and polkas until the wee hours of the morning. In the year 1907 those celebrated in the Círculo Artesano stood out for their animation and attendance.
Masks and costumes were very important in the dressing of those days of Carnival and Piñata Sunday, which were awaited year after year with real impatience, to the point that young people were able to anticipate events by up to a month at a time. official calendar, as happened in the masquerades of late January 1909.
So much interest in disguise materialized in the development of a trade in cardboard, percaline and satin masks, noses with mustaches, confetti, streamers, tambourines for students, bells, caps for clowns and other characteristic articles of those dates, which in those days Circumstances monopolized the Meléndez printing press. On the other hand, during the day and only when the weather allowed, the Regiment band, the popular band and the municipal tambourine enlivened with their music those afternoons in the Plaza de la Villa and La Alameda, complementing the vertigo of the nocturnal dances celebrated especially in the Santoñesa Youth.
In 1910, during the three days of the carnival, the adverse weather conditions of the previous years were repeated "a lot of water in the clouds, more mud in the streets than water in those and a handful of carefree people in disgusting costumes and a mask, who were entertained in annoying others, it was the show these days ... "
Once again the animation focused on the ballroom dancing, in which clever masks and flashy costumes were displayed. On some occasions, the transformation of identity through disguise came to be rewarded to encourage the originality and spectacularity of the models, in order to favor the influx of participants and the general public. Thus, the Santoñesa Youth in 1910 "offered luxurious prizes for the best presented masks. In search of this, there were masks in great numbers and luxuriously attired"
Reviewing those carnivals, in different years, we can see that the types of costumes were varied, of bundles of merchandise, motorists who "danced (in 1907) at the speed of a Panard of forty horses", of reaper, abbot, card thrower , Enrique III, "Rigoleto", from Jerez, chulas or "Sargento Federico", a popular character at that time.
Those who preferred to hide their identity completely, in order to be able to make jokes with greater impunity, were placed under hoods of various invoices and ornamentation, which over the years were being replaced by the so-called "funeral raincoats".
In any case, in the words of the chroniclers of the moment, young people greatly enjoyed during those celebrations, which they later narrated in detail in their articles, not losing detail of all the events that occurred during the evenings, that if, without discovering the identity of the protagonists.
On the other hand, jokes and gossip accompanied in the course of those ballroom parties and, if not, there are some samples ...
... "There we learned strange things said with a veragüean intention, by a certain covered up to a discreet chicken, the kind that, according to the vulgar saying, takes them gropingly and kills them silently; that is, without improper praise of those who dress by the feet . Very good child X ... and later your mother will say that you are a saint !. How little the poor lady knows certain walks !.
Another vaporous mask of pink and airy suit gave us the content of a letter from a certain "Butterfly", of high stature who was teased with said letter, suspecting if she would be the addressee, because she knew it by heart. We do not know what judgment the tease would form; but apparently she liked the guasita, as she followed it with interest ... "(Eco de Santoña March 12, 1908).