Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Rose by Any Other Name


It's another holiday in Spain (or, more precisely, it is several holidays in Spain).  Since 1987, the first holiday has been called Fiesta Nacional de España, but it began to be observed in 1935 as Dia de la Hispanidad (Day of the Hispanicity), which didn't become an official national holiday until 1981.

The Dia de la Hispanidad was created to commemorate the anniversary of Columbus's pillaging of (excuse me) landing in the New World, which means it's Columbus Day.

It is also the Day of the Armed Forces, which is, I am told, usually commemorated with a military parade in Madrid.  Other than that, there's not a lot of fanfare or flag-waving because it's all overshadowed by another feast day, the Fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Pilar (Day of Our Lady of the Pillar), the patron saint of Spain.

As a matter of fact, two different people told me yesterday that today was a national holiday.  Neither person told me about Fiesta Nacional, Christopher Columbus, or the Armed Forces.  They both told me it was the Fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Pilar.

This morning at around 8, after Jerry and I had decided to snuggle comfortably in bed for another couple of hours, we heard chanting and voices outside.  Once we completed our muttering about the noise, we realized what it was and opened the shutters and doors to the wonderful fragrance of incense and to see another paso in the street below as it headed for the Convent of Santa Rosalía.


Three hours later, the procession was much larger and included a 50-piece band (Jerry counted) for the return march from the Convent of Santa Rosalía to the Brotherhood of Vera Cruz (about 3 blocks away).  I have great video of the procession and the music, but I haven't been able to convert the video to a format that will open on my Mac (without having to download new software).  So, you'll have to trust me that the band was very good.  I wonder if they're available 29 February 2012 for the first quadrennial Procesión de San Geraldo.



  1. I would love to wake up to this procession. It seems that these folks live their faith. I like that!
    And once again, if I slept in past 7a.m., I would feel like my day was half over.

  2. The Spaniards do love a parade. don't they!


  3. it is so beautiful, what a magical sight to awake to....

  4. Mark:
    I used to feel that way -- about missing half the day if I slept past 7. Since we've been in Spain, 10 is my cut-off point. But I love the two days a week I now have to be out of bed at 8 -- even if it's only so I can go have coffee at 9 (and except at the time I'm actually getting out of bed).

  5. Mitch,
    How magical that you are able to witness these events from your vantage point. Whats a little noise to witness such a beautiful thing. I could close my eyes and imagine the beautiful fragrance of the incense wafting about and slowly rising to your window. I think that would be a wonderful thing to have.


  6. Bob:
    They sure do. I've heard there will be many more in the coming days! We need to create our own calendar of the them so we can keep up.

  7. David:
    And I love that smell of incense.

  8. Scott:
    It really is incredible to be in the middle of everything, to view it all from our own balcony, to say "good morning" (well, "buenos dias") to neighbors on their balconies across the way, to go downstairs for coffee and see all the musicians hanging out while they wait for the return procession. What a gift!

  9. Bet you Jerry's parade will be so much better!

  10. Nubian:
    :-) I'm wondering if the band should play "I'm Coming Out." (Do you happen to have an "in" with Diana Ross?)

  11. WOW, busy day.

    I love the first picture - I love narrow streets like that.

    And the last picture (is that Santa Rosalita?) is amazing!

    As for Senor Columbus...someone called here at the library wondering why we were open: it took all my strength once he told me it was Columbus Day NOT to say that we don't close for lets kill on the indigenous peoples day.

  12. Writer:
    Thanks so much for your visits and comments. If you like narrow streets and you have a few minutes, check out these links.


    I was relieved to see that the streets weren't filled today with parades for Columbus, although the monumental tomb in the cathedral doesn't give me the warm fuzzies.

  13. Interesting photos as usual particularly the one with the very narrow streets. To be awakened by fiesta is a great way to start the day. Life in Spain sounds very attractive the way you tell it.

  14. the cuby poet:
    This is the street that runs alongside our building. It is usually quiet and traffic-free. Very charming.

    We do love our lives here. Unfortunately, a lot of people here (as all over) are having a rough time making a go of it.

  15. Writer:
    I forgot to answer your question about whether or not that last photo is of Santa Rosalia. I have no idea! I will have to ask one of our local authorities on the subject!

  16. Writer:
    Groan! And now I just realized that it's obviously NOT Santa Rosalía because it's the Virgin Mary and Jesus. I'll find out where this one comes from.

  17. You are experiencing the best option of choice, the enjoyment and learning of cross culturization. Interesting to see how it effects your future, or did you always enjoy lazy mornings and coffee on the balcony...cousin Ron

  18. Hola cousin Ron! Thanks so much for stopping by.

    I have been known to enjoy lazy mornings and coffee at a local cafe (coffee on the balcony would mean I had to "cook" it). Now I'm learning that lazy mornings, etc., are permissible here even though there's so much new to see and do.


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