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Spanish Fiestas : What a load of Bull....

By Mr Grumpy - Mon 8th Aug 2011

Sometimes - just sometimes - I hate Fiestas.

I Live in a small rural valley. The valley has one 'large' Town of about 2'300 residents in its middle, with a further 4 or 5 much smaller villages at either end. Some of them are no more than 1km away from the next one, but nonetheless they are all fiercely independent and stubbornly hold on to the idea that they all need their own dedicated Ayuntamiento.

And this, of course, means that each of the 6 Villages in the Valley wants their own separate Fiesta, rather than them all chipping in and having one big fiesta all together.

Call it Spanish stubborn-ness, Village Pride and identity. Call it the Spanish love of Fiestas. Personally, I call it the Spanish disease of being completely unable to organise a prayer in a mosque.

And when you add that to the fact that these 6 Villages represent 3 different Political parties, you can appreciate that some kind of unity just isn't happening.

Each of the Villages has a full week of Fiestas, together with the Town which has two weeks. And because it would be unthinkable for any of the Fiesta dates to overlap this means that the Valley as a whole has around 7 weeks of fiestas every year in the July to September period.

So why do I have a problem with this ?

Well firstly, I live in the campo in the middle of the valley, so when the various bands begin to play their music at around 2am every morning, I can almost hear every word that they sing as the acoustics of the valley combined with the still of night reverberate around the valley. So I have a choice : I either close my window, let the bedroom turn into a sauna and hope to sleep, OR I leave the window open and hope that there is a slim chance I will be able to get some sleep at some point. Which is a no-win situation.

Secondly, yes I do get involved in the local Fiestas, but seven weeks worth of back-to-back partying takes the Michael. I get bored after the second or third days. Don't get me wrong, the communal Paella, the Kids water games and so on... are a great way to get involved in with the community. It's just that I don't feel the need to do this with all 6 communities in the village.

Thirdly, the Bands that are contracted by the Festeros are almost always the exact same bands every year that move from one village to the next, playing the exact same set list.

And normally they do this badly. They are clearly Spanish, so (In my opinion) should do what they do best - sing Spanish language songs. However, a non-English speakers singing English language songs is never a good idea. And worse still when their Non-English speaking audience is trying to sing along (Badly). I call it Span-ioke. Another reason why I can't sleep.

Fourthly, there are the Bulls. The SAME Bulls doing a tour of the valley every year. Three times a day, 12.00 Noon, 8.00pm and Midnight. Same old thing, Small, Medium and then large Bulls rolled out and taunted. Local Mulletted teenager taking off t-shirt and trying to show his machismo to a group of totally indifferent local girls etc... I like to see the Bulls maybe once, in one village and than that's it for the year.

Fifth, and finally, the fireworks. We are, we are told, in the middle of one of the worst financial downturns that Spain has ever seen - but that doesn't stop 6 villages in close proximity from each spending a small fortune on fireworks each and every year. All that done at the same time when the Regional Governments are telling us that the campo around the village is like a tinder box and to avoid making sparks at all costs ....

I'm just waiting for someone to point out to each of the alcaldes in our valley, the savings that could be made by having a more coordinated approach to the fiestas.

And it might mean I stand a chance of getting some sleep.

Comment on this Blog

It seems that my comments about Fireworks potentially causing fires may have been 'sadly prophetic'. During the final week of the Fiesta it caused a fire on the hillside behind the village. And my sensationalist reporting was 'sadly pathetic' - Click HERE .... (Think I'll stick to blogging...)
Mr Grumpy - Mon, 29th Aug 2011
Yes, I agree. I donīt get it. I wonder if itīs a "bread and circuses" approach, sort of including the poor in public entertainment to cheer up their sad lives, a sort of social leveller. Then I wonder if itīs "deeply-rooted" behaviour based on millenia before when they had to hunt bulls for food (even though they mostly eat jamón). Then I wonder if itīs a sacrificial, community- uniting ritual without which each village would cease to exist. Then I think itīs a load of backward, macho shite. Then I wish Iīd never heard of Spain in the first place.
Mo - Sun, 14th Aug 2011

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