Las Fallas has been described as a “pyromaniac’s dream” and a cross between “a bawdy Disneyland, the Fourth of July and the end of the world.”
Mascleta, March 2004
So how did the next-best-thing to the Apocalypse come to be celebrated on the feast day of Saint Joseph, adoptive father of Jesus?
Well, though St. Joseph’s Day is celebrated as Father’s Day across Italy, Spain, and Portugal, the Valencians chose to celebrate another calling of …Read more
Spanish Christmas Lottery ticket
The Spanish Christmas Lottery isn’t officially a holiday, but it’s an inseparable part of the holiday season in Spain, dating back to 1812. Each December 22, the entire nation waits on the edge of their seats for the winning numbers to be announced on TV, in a program that takes several hours. It’s estimated that 98% of Spanish residents take part in this lottery. It’s the largest lottery in the world …Read more
Happy Birthday Madonna!
No, not that one.
On September 8, the Catholic world celebrates the birth of the Virgin Mary.
Little is know of Mary’s birth from the Bible. The Gospel of James (which didn’t make the final cut) list her folks as Joachim and Anne (Hannah). The couple was childless until they were visited by an angel who informed them a child was forthcoming. Anne promised the …Read more
Last Wednesday in August August 31, 2011 August 29, 2012
364 days out of the year, Buñol is a quiet, ordinary Spanish town country nestled in the foothills of the Valencia mountains about 40 kilometers from the Mediterranean coast; its population is just shy of 10,000.
But if you happen to visit Buñol on the last Wednesday of August, don’t wear your finest. You will notice that the population has tripled in size, the bulk …Read more
July 25th is the feast day of St. James.
James and his brother John, sons of Zebedee, were two of Jesus’s twelve Apostles. After Jesus’s crucifixion, James took the Gospel westward to unchartered territories—Iberia—and never looked back. Oh wait, he did look back, unfortunately. After receiving a vision of the Virgin Mary, James returned to Judea where he was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I in 44 AD.
But that’s not the end …Read more
July 7 (St. Fermin’s Day)
14 people have been killed in the San Fermin Running of the Bulls since 1924, when they began counting. To give you an idea of the scope of the mayhem, that’s almost equal to the number of people killed by vending machines in the U.S. since 2001.
Running with the Bulls (aka the Encierro) has been a Pamplona tradition for centuries. Local organizers remind tourists to take safety precautions and warn them of the …Read more
Goya's "Dos de Mayo, 1808"
“The population of Madrid, led astray, has given itself to revolt and murder. French blood has flowed. It demands vengeance…”
– Joaquim Murat, 1808
Guerrilla warfare. To any kid who’s failed a spelling bee because of one of the most misspelled words in the English language, you’re in good company. Before learning the proper spelling, I too assumed it was war that took place deep in the African …Read more