Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas is coming.....

Having just spent the best part of November back in the UK, it was difficult to escape the hype and hyperactivity that has become synonymous with Christmas and the ever lengthening run-up to the big day. That was until a few days back here in the peaceful tranquillity that is Asturias.

The Spanish celebrate Christmas but not in the same way or even at the same time as friends and family do back in the UK. Firstly, presents are not given until the Epiphany on the 6th January, by far a greater celebration for the Spanish than Christmas day. Boxing day doesn't exist and Santa Clause is in the main redundant due to the good work carried out by the three Kings who distribute presents in fine fashion. The main gatherings here in Spain are Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. Christmas cards or should I say the wholesale mailing of cards to all and sundry, is not common practice and neither are the obligatory list of presents and stocking fillers. Stockings and pillowcases are also scarce as Shoes have taken their place for the depository of gifts. The shops and bars are tastefully adorned with Christmas decorations and a few homes have placed subtle Christmas references on the outside of porches and balconies. Having no television, it is only the arrival of cards from family and friends that remind us that Christmas is on the way.

Whilst out for a walk yesterday we stopped at the village chapel after spotting something glistening in the entrance. Members of our Village's Festivities Committee had decorated the Ramu as a tree using pictures of the villagers as baubles. It was great to see the 30 or so faces of our friends and neighbours brought together in this way and it served as a timely reminder that we need to make plans, put up decorations and plan gatherings.

Unfortunately, globalisation has recently introduced Santa Clause as another way of selling us all lots of things we don't really need, resulting in two Christmases for a growing number of Spanish people.

Whilst making lunch I spotted this little fella making his way to safety, away from the hunters that are currently active and eager. I hope he makes it.

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