The heck we are talking about? Well, we are certainly not talking about fish, but one very old tradition of Spain (we've been doing this for centuries, and are probably the oldest fraternities in the world!). The Tunas are university student music bands that date as far back as the 1215 with King Alfons X, the Wise. Mainly they were began by students of not so high birth in order to generate moneys for their studies.
|These bands, the tunas, today
provide entertainment and overall fun to parties and in
specified high class and typical restaurants around the geography
of the country. Of a Castillian costums, the Tunas are nowadays
a big part of the social life of university students
where may aspire to become tunos, and where very few are
(Click on the button to see a larger image of the photo)
Before becoming tunos, the candidates or pardillos, will have to pass a series of tests designated to measure their degree of humor, and artistic abilities. These two qualities are musts of the tunos and after the selection has been finalized and the pardillos are about two become tunos, they must undergo a final test: The Soup of Charity. This is an orange concoction made up by the veteran tunos with many spices, most of then hot, and herbs that is spoon fed to the pardillos while they are asked "Are you pleased with the delicacy?" and the reply is: "Yes"; meanwhile the pardillos might as well be dragons that could spew tongues of flames from their mouths.
Once this is done then they make an oath in front of their godfather or godmother over a tambourine, which is the symbol of the tuna. Then the induction ceremony begins in which the pardillos become full fledged tunos, and are given nicknames which will be their denomination for life as members of the tuna; not one is called by their real name. The induction ceremony begins with a speech in Latin, and then it continues with Old Castillian, which is rarely used nowadays. Then the new members are inducted by the imposition of the tuna's sash.
To be a tuno is a selective part of university life to which many students aspire. Their general characteristics as described before are their humor and their artistic abilities, but they go beyond that, for even though they may not want to recognize it, a tuno also enchants the young ladies for their hearts. They have a fame to be womanizers and heart thieves; titles which they never own so they say. Their movements and traveling, for even today, tunas travel within Spain and abroad the world, they do so with hardly no money, or as we say in Spanish "a la adventure"(in an adventurous way).
We are sure that most of you understand what being a part of a big family of such kind is, and so the next time that you come around Spain, or see these young men playing their guitars, bandurrias, and tambourines, that you remember that they are fun loving people which carry in their sashes over 700 years of history, and that they keep on doing it for fun. So join them in their songs, share with them a few minutes of your life and let their enthusiasm energize you with the ful love for life, color and overall passion! Viva la tuna!
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