Peace Day

eace Day doves at an infant school, Breña Baja
January 29, 2015

Spain stayed out of both world wars, so they don’t celebrate Remembrance Day in November. They have Peace Day instead, which schools celebrate on January 30th. In Primary school they wear something white, or mostly white (if the children remembered to tell Mummy), and usually they go into the village centre and sing a song. At high school, the teachers try to work a peace theme into the lesson. For…

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Their Majesties, the Reyes Magos

Gaspar visiting Santa Cruz de la Palma Although Father Christmas does visit Spanish children, he’s a new arrival. Traditionally the presents arrive on the morning of January 6th, when the three kings visit baby Jesus. (The sales don’t normally start this early, because Christmas isn’t over here.) And on the evening of the 5th, their majesties ride in procession through most of the major towns and villages in Spain. In…

January 4, 2015
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Have a happy 2015

I hope you enjoyed new year’s eve, I hope 2015 brings you whatever you most want. I “left the year” (as they say in Spanish) with the extended family. New year is a big thing in Spain. Many people dress up – I mean really dress up, as though they were going to the opera at Covent Garden. Traditionally, lots of people eat out, although I suspect there’ll be less…

January 1, 2015
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Tall Ships 2014

Tall_ships_2014 The Tall Ships are back! They used to hold an annual meet-up in Santa Cruz de la Palma for Christmas, but last year’s was cancelled. Luckily, they’re back. The ships will arrive on December 24th and leave on the 26th. As usual, there’ll be a market in the port area from 9 am to 6pm, which gives you a chance for last-minute present shopping (or good-and-early shopping for January…

December 24, 2014
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San Martin

While most of Europe celebrates Remembrance Day, here it’s St. Martin’s Day – San Martin. (Spain was officially neutral in both world wars, so they don’t have a Remembrance Day). San Martin is traditionally when the chestnuts are ready to pick, and the new wine from the summer’s grape harvest is ready to drink. (Although with global warming, the chestnuts have been in the shops for weeks.) So most families…

November 7, 2014
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Remembering the Dead on La Palma

Halloween isn’t much of a fiesta here, although it’s becoming more popular. All Saint’s Day is. Traditionally, it’s when people remember their dead. So they decorate the graves in the morning, and most cemeteries have a special mass. It’s fascinating to see, but please be sensitive. Some people may be recently bereaved and feeling fragile.

November 1, 2014
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