Carnival Espana!

February 20, 2007


Wow! For such a small village, these people really go all out when it comes to celebrations and Carnival before lent was no exception. We knew this one was coming and we did not want to miss any of it. We decided we would try out the balcony experience this time since we are lucky enough to be living on the main street and to have two balconies that face the street.

I am almost used to the fire works now and hardly flinched when a young man lit one right in front of us with his cigarette with his young son dressed as spider man running around right next to him. Spain is really on another planet when it comes to celebrations. I think Andalusians must be the most joyful people on the planet and you can not witness these celebrations while living in such a village and not be caught up in the joy.

I happen to be reading “Travelers Tales Spain” and so many things ring true, but I especially liked this quote for expressing my feelings about the community here;

“Spain in general and Andalusia in particular teaches us
that you can have no real communal life unless
you have focal and celebratory events throughout the year,
in which the large majority of people in that community participate.
That is because the only true basis of community
is not supposedly enlightened self-interest but actual shared experience.
This is much assisted by the preservation of pre-industrial feasts and saints’ days and by a due attention to the rhythms of the seasons. ”   

Alastair Boyd

There really is something very special about these celebrations, especially in a small town, as we know (to some extent) all the people in the parade. The people from other countries that end up thriving here are the ones that also participate in these celebrations and speak fluent Spanish. Our friends the other rare Americans, the English couple and their child who are the caretakers for our landlord, our friends from the Netherlands who own a restaurant nearby were all full participants along with all the natives from the village that have been doing this for generations.

It is possible to live a life separate from the community and even a life where one never need learn the language as there are enclaves in nearby towns that do exactly that. It is a shame though, in all that is missed that has value. We were wise (beginners luck!) to choose a place in the center of the old village.

So many choose country homes when they move here and then don’t make it as they feel isolated and are constantly driving. One should really at least spend some months (or a year) in a village before moving to the country to absorb all the richness that is authentic rural Spanish village life. One quickly becomes part of the community and connects with the heart of Andalusia.That is especially important for families and Mozart has thrived on the every day connectivity and rhythms.

We gathered with our neighbors on the road outside our house anticipating the delights to come as the music and drumming grew closer. I climbed to my perch on the balcony hoping it would be a good spot to film and video this event. I was astounded at the sheer numbers of groups in elaborate costumes and all
the irreverence.

This is a very catholic town so I was surprised to see guys dressed as pregnant nuns and girls dressed up like Spanish soldiers. I loved the gypsies and flamenco dancers (guys dressed up and even a decorated car to go with this group). There were groups of bees, and bowling pins and ballerinas in drag. The parade seemed endless and the drumming and music was excellent. We found out our friend Steve’s car was one that was used in the parade and decorated beyond recognition.

The scene I liked best I think was one with an “abuelita” (little grandmother) that is a neighbor and her reaction when she saw her grandson. He was the lead flamenco dancer in the group that I liked best and they put a funny skit on. Her reaction and interaction with him and our other  neighbors standing next to her was just priceless.

I hope to get this up on video podcast at some point. We followed the crowd up to the square where the party continued for the rest of the night. I was right behind the little old man who walks all over town with his walker...slowly but surely.. and enjoyed how he was part of this celebration too, not wanting to miss anything. He was sitting next to DaVinci and Mozart thru part of the parade.The youngest to the oldest participate and enjoy the show and celebration.

We just had one drink and gabbed with friends amongst the community chaos in the main square while Mozart got an ice cream and played with her friends. Then we headed home to bed as we had to get up early to do last minute things before our Three Generations Tour. We heard the music and fire works
as we nodded off with smiles on our faces. There is nothing quite like our sweet Andalusian village life.












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