Mujeres de Casares: bellringer
The sounds and the silence
The sound of the church bells is part of the cultural heritage of Casares. It is a code that the neighborhood knew well and that, through different chimes or ringings managed with two ropes, sounded for the Angelus or during Vespers, was used to call to mass on special days or to inform of deaths, identifying if the deceased person was a woman, man, or minor.
In Casares, this task was last carried out by Ana Vargas Mateo (Casares, 1921), known as Ana “La Carla”. She learned the trade in her childhood, when her father, who was the gravedigger, was absent for a period of time, and she took charge of the cemetery. Upon the head of the household’s return, she continued with the maintenance of the cemetery and started her work as a bell-ringer. She received financial compensation from the town hall for hourly chimes, and from the church for religious chimes and from relatives when there was a death.