I HAVE already told you that autumn is my favourite time of the year. It runs long and can well endure past Christmas. It also seems that every village in southern Spain somehow has got it right in selecting a pueblo patron Saint whose birthday came in the fall of the year to facilitate village celebrations during the harvest times.
These communal ferias are in fact a reward for working hard during the year so not too discerning of an eye is cast upon the shenanigans of the local inhabitants. It is truly their time to act a little out of character, have fun and kick up their heels.
Although the activities appear to be spontaneous and unorganised they follow strict ancient customs, sometimes centuries old tied both to the church and the welfare of the community.
Mass and other church pertinent services initiate the week. Then election of kings and queens for the duration of the celebrations. Selections strategically made amongst the proletariat to keep the village under control via common roots and language. Possibly horse riding or local sporting activities leading up to the grand culmination of festivities – the toro.
In olden times it was the town’s wealthiest personages on horseback lancing a bull in the village square. These characters later created their own followers, donned pink socks like the nobility and soon evolved into toreo, which got horribly mislabelled by visiting tourists and their guides who started calling the spectacle ‘BULLFIGHTING;’ something it ain’t by the rules of encounter of the ritual. Following the death of the bull therein blossomed a frolicking fiesta kept afloat by rivers of wine.
The surrounding countryside would bring in their produce and complements to the meals. It was a good chance for courtship or at least meeting friends or relatives that hadn’t been seen for months and possibly years. In by-gone years even the local hermits always appeared coming down from their hide-away in the mountain to eat and drink a little. Lots of the new arrivals come; sons and daughters returning to their roots.
The wine continued to be splashed about; mishaps and the fun were spontaneous. In bygone years no one got drunk and stumbled about.
Dignity had its decorums and they were never violated, most certainly in a situation whereupon the entire village would notice you.