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Star stories
Myths and legends of those bright things you can see in the sky

(by Pablo Burgués)

The other day I came across a book entitled Estels d'eivissa. Noms populars d'estrelles, planetes i constel.lacions a les illes pitiüses”, that, translated into rural English could be: “How we name all those bright things moving around up there”. Despite its super-descriptive title, this publication not only enumerates the names of every light in the sky, in fact it is more a sort of compilation of the most popular astronomical myths and legends of the islands.

The work, developed by the Agrupación Astronòmica d’Eivissa (Eivissa Astronomical Association) aims to disseminate these stories in order to avoid that part of the cultural heritage of the Pitiusan islands may get lost.  And as today I’ve woken up feeling very pro-heritage, and with my dissemination hormone on its highest, I’m going to tell you the craziest Ibizan-galactic tale I’ve ever read: “The party goats of the outer space”. It goes like this: 

If you go out to the country on the clear nights of winter in Ibiza, and look up to the sky, besides freezing, you could see a group of seven stars that shine  with more self-confidence than the laser beam of Cova Santa disco. They are the Pleiades,  an open star cluster located in the constellation of Taurus that since time immemorial has been present in all kinds of myths.

In Ibiza these stars are known as Ses Cabrelles (the kidskins), because it’s believed that every 18th December, once night falls, they come down from the sky and go party in Ibiza disguised like goats! So, more than an astronomical phenomenon it seems we’re talking about a hen party. Well, according to this daring belief, the stars-kidskins spend all night hanging about tracks and fields of the islands and they don’t go back  to the sky until day breaks. Back in the Milky Way, Aldebaran is waiting for them. This is a giant red star known as Guardacabrelles (shepherdess for the kidskins), who takes care of the kidskins so that they don’t run away until next year.

As you can imagine, the scientific community is not completely happy with this theory. However, the oldest local people do not only believe it but they also consider it is the main reason for the expansion of the universe.... Because, according to them, whoever or whatever meets the kidskins dies immediately and goes up to the sky in the shape of a star, thus making our galaxy grow.

Though the idea of going party and turning into a star sounds very cool, the truth is that in the long run it is a terrible thing and because of that Ibiza people never go out on the night of 18th December, except for a greater cause such as a foam party, to take a cocktail on the terrace at Hotel Marina Playa, go to a concert in Can Jordi, the birthday party of a relative/friend/acquaintance/unknown person, work Christmas dinner (your own or anybody else’s), go out for tobacco, etc. etc.

 

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Pablo Burgués on Instagram and Twitter

Translation: Dora Sales

Read more stories: Typic d’aquí 

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