When it rains, fish will appear Noche Buena, part 10

Door San Daniel gepubliceerd in Reizen en vakantie


'Andalucia is a community, a communidad, of 8 provinces in Southern Spain. It is strongly agricultural and that reflects in daily values and norms and lifestyle. A lifestyle that in its simplicity can be called Burgundian. Here men and women live the village life, folk that have not yet been bought by commerce and by the big city and try to keep their heads above water with all their might. ' Where there is food for three there is food for four, "is a saying in our region and it is not only a saying, it is being observed. I love this country, mi tierra, I am not un hijo del pueblo, a son of the village, but am treated like one. I feel joy when I see my fellow villagers and I am greeted with unfeigned enthusiasm every time I meet my them. The village is a pack, with its excesses which ranges from good to bad. But who will hurt you if you approach people open-mindedly? Everyone finds protection in the lap of their village.


There are a few highlights throughout the year that make the daily hard work on the land tolerable. Fiestas, one lives towards them. Days in advance they are the subject of conversation and then it slowly ebbs away in delayed motions. December is such a month, a month here in Andalucia of reflection and worship of the baby Jesus and his mother the virgin, as symbols of all the good on this earth. A few weeks of austerity. Traditionally, it is also the slaughter month. In this month there are fewer flies than in the hot summer and that makes the slaughtering somewhat more hygienic. It is the month where once and now in time crisis, a good meal is enjoyed when a beast is slaughtered.

For the rest, the meals are sober, firm and simple but healthy and nutritious, Mijas: olive oil, flour and sardines. Extremely filling but it keeps the engine going for a while when you work the land. Lentejas: a pea soup-like lentil soup, with your spoon standing upright when you stick it in the pan. Bean dishes and dried peppers. These are not dishes for folk who do their work sitting down, but for people who burn more than the hombres de oficina. On the land you become lean and tough and you stay strong. The hombres del officina, would only grow obese and develop heart ailments and fall from their chairs.


When Christmas has passed, Navidad, the sights are focused on the new year. Noche Vieja. The old night. Days before, you meet each other in pubs and you offer drinks or tapas to your friends. That's easier here than elsewhere in the world, where you feel half-robbed if you give away a round. A glass of wine goes at 100 cents or a coffee with cognac 120 cents, that makes a  difference. The local hard poison, Barecha  burning its way to your gut, 80 cents. Sevillanas are sung in the bars and flamenca dancers, dance.

You invite friends and you meet with your family on that night and your table, perhaps only once in the year, is filled with every imaginable delicacy we have in the region. Almond candies, mantecao. Meat dishes, prawns, your best wine and you eat and drink and talk and laugh and pass the noche vieja in a relaxed way. As the midnight hour approaches, the villagers leave their houses and go to the village square. The women very often wear red, this is a superstitious zone we live in and we believe that red  brings happiness and you want your wife to bring you happiness, right?


There you nod to one  another and you shake hands and you inform after the families of the people you know, Waiting for the redeeming strokes of the village clock. With every stroke we put a grape in our mouth. A regional tradition. Our clock indicates the new year. Not the clock in Madrid or on the TV. Our village clock determines after its 12th chime that it is 2019. Elsewhere in the country people may still be counting. Our church gives the signal!

The young people then go out. Neatly dressed up from pub to pub. They drink and give rounds. Often these are the occasions to see your old classmates again who have spread to all kinds of studies in Spain, but on Noche Vieja,everyone returns to his or her village to be with the family. To their village. Like my daughter, she had come flying in, had eaten and talked with us and then went to do the rounds. She did not get the car, because although she is almost graduated and very responsible, there is always far too much to drink and village people know how to empty a glass..


The car does not interest me a bit but the damage that they, or others could do, does. We usually agree that I put my cell phone next to my bed and that I will come and get her if she calls me, wherever she is. Neither do I want her to get into a car with others who may have drunk. Last time I picked her up at 7:00 in the morning. The village was still very cozy and orderly. The young were still in front of the bars talking with a glass in hand and I thought, ' isn't this great, just a bunch of young kids passing the time peacefully.'

The fiestas will continue until January 4th when we light the huge pyres of pruned olive tree branches and the connection you feel through the region is then overwhelming. In the dark night you can sporadically see a gigantic fire flaring up here and there. Light carries far away in the dark night. You know then that far away, oher farmers warm themselves by a fire with wine in their hands. You have to burn the branches otherwise diseases could affect your own plantation. When the fire goes out you go to the village and people have tables with bites outside their door. As a vintner you usually take some wine with you, and you eat something here and shake hands and eat something there. A great feeling of fellowship and welbeing is transmitted through the village.


For the children the 6th of January is most important, Three kings. The mayor calls the children forward and the aldermen are disguised as three kings and hand out the presents that were brought to the town hall by parents, for their children. One of the kings is always painted black. That is still possible here, because Balthazar was black. Melchior and Caspar wear long false beards and wigs.


Then the harsh reality of the peasant existence returns. After the parties, the time has come to prune the grapes, now that they are still dormant. Row after row and field after field after field. To then graft the cut to old stems or to plant where there has been a fall out. The days start lengthening and work can not wait. It is a difficult time off year for most of us until .... Easter arrives .. Semana Santa, the holy week and then we shake off the daily worries for ourselves. '

also read part 11

A blessed 2019 to you all. San Daniel


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for more info concerning San Daniel press the following link/ voor meer info betreffende San Daniel druk op de link a.u.b.:landingspage-san-daniel


Nederlandse auteurs page van San Daniel in Hebban

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Vriendelijke groet en God Bless, kind regards and God Bless!

29/12/2018 06:48

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