Showing posts from June, 2022

Beginning Over, 19. Fire and Memories.

Today is St. John's Day, and is a regional holiday. Last night, many bonfires lit the cloudy skies, and the sea was emptied of sardines to be roasted over the coals. Our daughter went to friends' in Santiago, but my husband and I roasted our own sardines and built our own little bonfire, over which we jumped three times to ward off the witches. This morning, we washed our faces in the traditional water steeped with fragrant herbs that sat out overnight, to catch the magic of midsummer night. Actually, midsummer was on the twenty-first, but the Church positioned the feast of St. John just three days away, so pagan celebrations were moved slightly. They're still pagan, just with a Christian patron.  The bonfire was a punctuation to a rather hectic day for me. It was the first day of my week's vacation, and I had errands to run. Since our daughter is working this summer, I haven't got a car. Yesterday, since I was free, I drove her to work, and then went to Santiago an

Beginning Over, 18. Reconquering History.

A statue of the Apostle James has been removed from a prominent spot in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, dedicated to him. It has been deemed inapporpriate, because it represented the Apostle upon a white, rearing horse, with a sword in his hand, trampling on the infidels. It's a popular description from the Middle Ages and the Reconquest, when the Apostle apparently appeared in front of a Christian army just before the battle of Clavijo, which they went on to win. The legend was actually created years later, but was used to help make Santiago the patron saint of Spain, against the candidacy of Teresa of Avila. "Santiago y cierra España!" was a popular battle cry in the wars between Moors and Christians, and was picked up by nationalist groups in the nineteenth century. So, because the iconography can offend Muslims (the infidels under the horse's hooves), it shouldn't be prominantly displayed.  I can understand. But, that doesn't change history. That