I remember when, during my first-ever intercambio, I first heard the phrase “Typical Spanish.” I don’t recall what we were talking about, but the phrase stuck with me, not only because it’s not actually something that would come out of a native speaker’s mouth.
Spain is different. We know this. But what is, exactly, “typical” of Spain? Whenever someone asks my opinion on a village fiesta, no matter what I say, their opinion seems to be “typical” (“típico”). But Spain is so diverse: in language, in festivals, in culture, in people. So is anything typical of all of Spain? I’m not sure. But I think the pueblo may just be.
I wrote about Mario’s mother’s pueblo already, Manzanal del Barco. This weekend, it was time to visit Mario’s father’s village, San Cebrián de Castro, for the first time. (I know, I’m surprised I hadn’t been there yet either.) It was their Virgin’s day (yes, they have a village virgin), La Virgen de Realengo. So, obviously, there was a procession. Here are some photos.
While telling my mother about this festival, I neglected to mention that the virgin is, indeed, a statue. I told her, “They carried the village virgin around town.” In retrospect, this does sound odd.
Mario is enjoying carrying the statue. The men (macho, macho men!) took turns carrying it, because, uh, it is heavy!
Traditionally, all the children who have done their first communions during the year are in the procession, dressed in their communion attire. In Spain, the little girls, who are all of nine years old (usually), dress like miniature brides, while the boys often dress as marineros (sailors). This little girl was the only child in San Cebrián’s procession.
You can see Mario’s father at the right of this picture. As the secretario of the local cofradía (Wikipedia says: “A confraternity is normally a Roman Catholic or Orthodox organization of lay people created for the purpose of promoting special works of Christian charity or piety, and approved by the Church hierarchy”), he is in charge of things like maintaining the data of the members, correspondence, badges, etc. He is the man. Obviously.
After events like these, what else can you say but “typical Spanish”?