Recently we celebrated Australia Day in Melbourne with barbies, tennis and picnics in the park. We have written about some significant cultural days in our countries and we would like to share them with you.
The Festival of San Fermin SPAIN
The festival of San Fermin in the Spanish city of Pamplona is a world famous celebration every year on the 7th of July. For a week all the people in Pamplona (and a lot of tourists from other parts of the world) celebrate it in honour of San Fermin, the co- patron of Navarre.
During these days the famous running of the bulls takes place. It consists of thousands of people running in front of a few bulls along the streets of Pamplona. This is really dangerous and some people die during the event.
A typical day of San Fermin festival is waking up early to go to the running of the bulls at 8.00 every day. When it finishes we go to eat ‘tapas’ and wine in several bars in the historical streets of the city. All the families go to eat together to ‘gastronomic societies’ or places where they usually have lunch. In the afternoon, all the people go out to the street and start to drink until sunrise.
The Black and Whites’ Carnival (5-6 Jan) COLOMBIA
This modern carnival arose at the dawn of the Epiphany day, based on the need to express imagination, play, friendship and sharing the joy around that time of the years passed.
One day is Black’s day and all the people go out with old clothes and start to paint their faces and play with other people.
Another day is White’s carnival when all the people go out with ponchos and start to play throwing flour at the other people. The typical food is an animal similar to a rat. We drink a local Aquardiente (translation- hot water) all the day. There are a lot of bands who play every day. You dance until midnight!
Befana (6 Jan) ITALY
In Italy we celebrate the “Epiphania”. The world was transformed into BEFANA. Befana is an ugly old woman who flies with a broom during the night. In popular folklore Befana visits all the children of Italy on the eve of January 5th to fill their socks with candy and presents if they have been good. If they have been bad they get a lump of coal or dark candy.
Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun) PERU
During the Inca Empire, the Inti Raymi was the most important of the ceremonies celebrated in Cusco. The celebration took place in the Hua Kaypata or the main plaza in the city.
The Inti Raymi was a religious ceremony of the Inca Empire in honour of the god Inti. The Inca Pachacutec created the city Raymi to celebrate the New Year in the Andes. Since 1944, a theatrical presentation of it has been taking place at Sacsay huaman on June 24 of each year. It lasts for 9 days and is filled with colourful dances and processions. They thank the earth for the harvest.
Carnival is one of the most popular and joyful holidays in Brazil. It’s commemorated 40 days before Easter. The carnival arrived in Brazil in the 17th century, influenced by the carnival parties that were happening in Europe, where people used to wear masks and fancy dress.
In the 19th century, the Brazilian carnival was becoming more popular with a distinct Brazilian style. People went out to the streets wearing costumes, decorated cars, singing a chorus that is called ‘marchinhas’.
In these days there are a lot of kinds of carnival parties spread across the country. In Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro you can watch the “Schools of Samba Parade.” The members of these schools prepare throughout the year for the parade. On Wednesday (Ash Wednesday- Resurrection of Christ), a panel of judges choose the best giving scores for each subject (music, harmony, etc.)
Anyway, Carnival is my favourite party in Brazil because everybody looks happy and you are allowed to wear whatever you want!
Sant Jordi (April 23) SPAIN- BARCELONA
Once upon a time there was a village where there lived nice people. One day one dragon appeared and it started to eat the sheep and kill people. The inhabitants of the village decided to give one person to the dragon to eat. The person was chosen by a lottery and destiny chose the princess. All the people fell into a big sadness. Before the dragon ate the princess one handsome knight appeared to kill the dragon. The tradition ending said, on the blood of a dragon grew a nose. The knight gives the nose to the princess.
The traditional food of Sant Jordi is a bread in the colours of the Catalonian flag. It is the day of love, literature and representation of the legend. In the centres of the cities and towns you can find a lot of people selling roses and books. The cities and towns are decorated with roses and flags of Catalonia. You have to give one rose to your girlfriend and a book to your boyfriend. In my case I give my partner book suggestions a few days in advance so that I get the book I want!
Day of Celebration in Alfaro, La Rioja SPAIN
The 14th of August is the best day in Alfaro because the main parties start. You dress in white jeans or shorts, runners and a friend’s club t-shirt and the most important is the neckerchief. It’s red and has the coat of arms on it. Before going to Spain’s square my group of friends and I go together to our cuarto (garage) to say cheers with champagne and then we go to Spain’s square. At 12 o’clock the mayor throws the rocket and when it explodes everyone jumps and it means that the parties are beginning. All people dance around the square behind the band and then we go to the pubs and dance and drink. Around 3 o’clock my group of friends go to the cuarto and we eat together (lamb with pimientos is the most typical). After that you go home to have a shower and then go to see the parade. After the parade we go to the cuarto to have a drink together and go out until 7 o’clock, which is when the pub closes. Then we go to have breakfast together in La Polar (a bar) and at 8.30am we go with the band dancing to the bullring because at 9am the running of the bulls begins!