back home....back working...
I'm back home and back working, but luckily for just a couple of days. I go to Madrid to spend there this coming weekend and New Year's Eve.
As feared, I've gained 1 more kilo in two days, which is pretty usual on Christmas and holiday season.
On Christmas Eve we had a traditional dinner (or at least, traditional for us) at granny’s home. To start with,we had all kind of seafood on the menu. Then, the main dish varies year by year between salmon and roast lamb. This year we only ate fish.
Besides, it’s traditional to drink champagne or "brut" (a sort of cava) and to eat Christmas sweets after having dinner. As I told you before, the most traditional candies are “mantecados” and “turrón”. Unfortunately, if one want to keep one’s figure, one cannot eat too much of them. Why delicious food, such as sweets, chocolate, cured Iberian ham and sausage, are so fattening!
Like in other countries, many families go to midnight mass. It’s a custom more deeply-rooted in towns and villages. Spain hasn’t been a secular state for long. The country lived under Franco’s dictatorship between 1936 and 1975, when he died. During that period of injustice and repression in social life, Franco gave a lot of power to the Church, and he imposed the Catholic religion as the state religion. Everyone had to be Catholic, go to mass every Sunday and sing his national anthem at school or at any public event. Franco, who called himself “The leader”, was a fascist. However, during the Second World War, though sympathetic to the fascist powers Franco keeps Spain out of direct involvement in the conflict.
It wasn’t after his death that Church and State were separated. But nevertheless the Church still has influence on the government, institutions and education, since almost every high level school in the country is Catholic, private and almost elitist (because of the high rates that have to be paid monthly). Later on, Spain began to receive economic aids and was eventually admitted to the UN and to the NATO. Afterwards, Spain became a member of the EU. From then on, Spain grew incredibly fast. This growth was due to a combination of factors, including tourism and industry, among others, as vibrant means of economic development.
Well, after wandering from the topic, it’s time to pick up the thread of the theme again. Yesterday was Christmas day, and as most of you, I spent all day long with my family. We had our traditional Christmas lunch, in which we finish all that is left after Christmas Eve dinner. Although we were sixteen for dinner, it’s quite common to buy too much food. Typically our mind works following the quote: it´s better for it to be left over than to be not enough.
Nevertheless, in Elche there’s the tradition of eating broth with “relleno” or “pelota”, which is a very big meatball. This dish is a staple of the Mediterranean diet. If you didn’t know it, the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets, since it’s based on vegetables, peas, soups and broths (for us it’d be literally translated: spoonsoup dishes) as well as on seasonal fruits. For instance, orange is the Valencian fruit, and green grape is gather in Alicante province. Now, it’s orange and grape time.
Jonathan, you are right, there have been accidents caused by the bonfires, but any too serious.
There are different causes. One of the main causes is that it’s boiling hot in the crowd, and even more near the bonfires. Other causes are that people drink like a fish during the festivity. It’s huge problem, because they make careless mistakes. Also, they might put themselves into risk, as well as others.
On the other hand, the bonfires are constantly controlled by firemen. So, there’s no burning hazard to people who are all around the bonfires, despite their big dimensions.
What I haven't tell you is that the night before the “cremà” people go to the beach to burn a bonfire, and have lunch there. It’s a pagan tradition, in which you have to jump over the bonfire, write a desire in a piece of paper and burn it afterwards. Besides, if the sea is calm, taking a night bath is the funniest thing to do…and the one which will bring you good luck. I’m not superstitious, but it’s something that I’ve always done just for fun.
I agree with Jonathan. My scientific way of thinking can’t fully understand how such a heavy huge “bird” can be held over air. I dislike travelling by plain, and I avoid it if possible, as well. However, I have to admit that the views from that height are outstanding.
Yes, I’ve sent most of my Christmas greetings by email, too. I’ve made most of them using some graphic design software. It isn’t just laziness, but also that sending them by post is too slow in this time of year. On the other side, I go on making elaborated cards for a handful of relatives. Drawing and painting is my hobby, and a kind of therapy for me.
In Spain, smoking is banned in every pub, café and restaurant. It’s usual to be in a wedding dinner party, and seeing how most of guests are out smoking. I don’t sympathise with smoking at all. I prefer smoking-free places. It’s all about respect for the people who don’t smoke, and have got no reason to swallow smoke cigarette.
I hope you all had a great Christmas celebration this year!
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