Customs

Trip Start Sep 07, 2005
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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

One of the great things about being here this week has been learning about many of the Spanish customs and culture. We had a Quiemada ceremony (http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=83&story_id=18471&name=The+weird+and+wonderful%3A+witchcraft+in+Spain), where "the Aguardiente, a strong distillation of grape skins, coffee beans, fruit and sugar is ritually set ablaze, scooped from its bowl and poured and re-poured until columns of fire seem to run from the ladle. All the while, a ritual incantation is declaimed, invoking owls, witches, demons, dwarves and so forth, and the 'Flames of Purgatory', before the drink is consumed". It was amazing, as Jez lifted the ladle there was a column of blue fire pouring down, while the incantation was being read. I fear some of the Spaniards were a bit surprised by some of the Anglos laughing at the vocabularly of what was read, it is supposed to be a solemn ceremony. The drink itself is like drinking turpentine though, awful doesnīt begin to describe it!

Through our conversations and one-on-ones, I have heard a lot about the history and ritual of bull-fighting, the Flamenco dance (including the Sevillana from Andalucia), Quiemada, paella, and so much other information about Spain and the life here (including great places to visit). Antonio even tried to teach some of the girls to dance, but the students were not exactly gifted! It was fun though. While travelling you tend to meet other travellers, especially if you donīt speak the language. So for me this week has been amazing as I have spent so much time talking to locals and learning all about their lives, and about Spain. I have also learned some Spanish words, though we arenīt supposed to speak Spanish...most of them not being useful in normal conversations. Though you would be surprised how many times you can say asqueroso in a week!
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