¡Viva la feria!

Well, what would you know, Granada is all dressed up for the Feria. Which means more of what the Andaluces do best: more time off, more flamenco, and more bullfighting. I always thought Austria was generous with its public holidays, but Spain is definitely not to be out-done. They love a good party down here. And, well, when in Rome – …

I never got round to writing about Semana Santa when it came round at Easter. The Holy Week is Spain’s most important holiday, and nowhere do they celebrate it more enthusiastically than in the South. Every night for an entire week the streets were filled with crowds following huge floats with various incarnations of Mary and Jesus on top. And in front, the famous nazarenos – looking suspiciously like members of Klu Klux Klan – on their sinister executioner-style drums.

Most atmospheric of all is the silent parade at midnight (on Good Friday, I think), when the streets lights are all turned off, the drums finally stop, and the crowds follow a crucified effigy of Jesus towards the Cathedral in complete silence.

My brother came to visit a few weeks after the end of the parades and pointed out that Granada’s pavements were oddly squeaky and slippery. That, my friend, is the wax that Mary Magdalene spilled as she mourned the death of Christ. A friend of mine told me that the smell of incense from the street parades still hadn’t left her flat.

Since then, we’ve had the Día de Andalucía, the Fiesta de las Cruces, and, in Seville, the Feria de Abril. I’m sure the occasional sound of trumpets on the street and men on horseback taking to the road have been signs of a couple more festivals that passed me by unnoticed. As of tonight Granada celebrates the Feria del Corpus – the city’s own week-long festival. The Feria’s bullfights have already started, and at midnight tonight the lights go on. So, with the sun shining, it looks all set to be another week of celebrations all round in Granada.

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