What a difference a date makes

MOTHER’S DAY: Spain celebrates many similar traditions, but frequently on different dates.

I’VE always found it curious living in Spain how they celebrate many similar traditions, but frequently on different dates.

Whilst we regard Friday 13 as a day to watch out for bad luck, this day comes and goes in Spain with no further ado; they’re not going to panic until there’s a Tuesday 13. And whilst you might like to play a prank on a Spaniard on the first of April, your joke will fall flat on it’s face; there won’t be any shenanigans in Spain until December 28, an emblematic date originally for truly gruesome reasons, but now recognised as the day of ‘all innocents’ (El Día de los Inocentes) – our April Fools equivalent.

And what about Christmas? No pressies until January; certainly the hardest one for me to get my head around.

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Sunday, March 19 was San José, the celebration of Saint Joseph, also now recognised as Father’s Day in Spain.

I was surprised to see that no mention of this was made in our expat community, but then again, silly me, I realised that in today’s Marbella, no-one knows what’s going on in the Spanish Marbella.

Even more poignant was to see that the up-coming celebration of Mother’s Day in the UK on March 26 was heralded everywhere! Spanish Marbella was paying respects to its father figures and yet our expat men were none the wiser, having to wait until June 18 for their pampering according to the English holiday calendar.

Not a big deal, now, but ironic for me. Back in the early 80’s when I first moved out to Marbella, every year without fail I would bitterly disappoint my mother because Mother’s Day in the UK would come and go without word nor card from me.

But back then, who knew? Greetings cards didn’t reach the Spanish shores until some 15 years later in the late 90’s so our very small expat community was basically ‘trapped’ in the Spanish way of life.

We had no access to English TV nor English newspapers and not only did internet not exist, back then it could take up to three years just to get a landline ‘phone even in the very heart of Marbella.

It’s hard to see the changes whilst they’re happening but this past weekend, once again I found myself taking a few moments to reflect on the Marbella of then, compared to the Marbella of today and obviously we’ve truly come a long way. Today we have all the opportunities for easy communication with anyone, anywhere in the world.

I only hope we know how to make the most of it. As a start I take this opportunity to wish my mother a very, very, very happy Mother’s Day!!



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