Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dia de la Matanza--Preview

Last Thursday was a magical day for me-- a double holiday in Palencia, the Dia de la Matanza (Day of the Sacrifice) and Dia de la Virgin de la Calle (Day of the Virgin of the Street.) The former is an elaborate feast of all kinds of pork products (in past years they killed the pigs right there in Plaza Mayor, while this year the dead specimens were merely displayed.) The latter is a festival celebrating the patron saint of the city, complete with processions through the old town, Castellano costume, and traditional dancing by tiny adorable children (as well as much more adept older adults.)

Overly romantic as it may be, when I stopped to think about what life could be like in Spain last year, this is one of the ideals I imagined: an untouristed town celebrating local festivals, eating traditional food, wearing beautiful clothes-- and myself, camera in hand, happy to see familiar landmarks decorated with time-honored ceremony. And so as I made my way through the crowded cathedral, amidst an eerie susurrus of the Lord's prayer on 300 pairs of lips; and as the dancing girls at the head of the procession stopped to twirl and click their castanets to welcome the Saint back to its home in the church on Calle Cestilla-- I admit to getting misty-eyed. I was here. I saw this. I made it.

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