Tuesday, 7 April, 2015:
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Fiestas de Primavera - El Bando de la Huerta
Tuesday, 7 April, 2015:
Murcia's Fiestas de Primavera started last Sunday and continue all week until their last day next Sunday
Another amazing week was on tap
These Fiestas dovetailed with Semana Santa to give our fair ciudad two weeks of revelry. Lots of energy would be needed to survive this day!
A COMPLETE holiday today
The Bando de la Huerta is today's celebration of all that is Huertano in the ciudad's roots as one of Europe's grandest agricultural areas.
As such, business were closed so that everyone could dress up in traditional clothing, eat, drink, enjoy family and friends and then take part in, guess what, A PARADE!
This Barraca is near La Hacienda
These Barracas have popped up all over Murcia and are run by social clubs known as peñas. Each offered food and drink at highly inflated Fiestas' prices we were told by our Cobra friends. We will discuss this price gouging later in this blog.
We were out of La Hacienda early in order to walk the two miles to Plaza Belluga for the Huertano style High Mass the would be held al fresco in front of the Cathedral's gorgeous Baroque main entrance starting at 10:00 a.m.
On our way there, we saw an open convent door that I had passed often but had always been closed.
In we went . . .
Nice interior door with a . . .
The Nuns sell bake goods!
But as cloistered Nuns, they can not see you or talk to you. Thus you place your order and money on this Lazy Susan style device, turn it, a Nun behind it fills out your order, makes the necessary change and turns it once more to complete the deal.
I only had a 50 Euro note and we did not want to ruin the Nuns' cash flow issues for the rest of the morning with this size note this early in the day.
SUCH WILL POWER!!!
First Huertano Siughting
There would be quite literally, thousands more during the day.
Outside Murcia's Casino
The outdoor altar at the Cathedral
was set up and almost ready to go
We were still missing one very special guest, a Virgen no less.
Colorful day to be sure
Hair is a woman's glory they say
Alpargata shoes with
Some restaurants were open
We would be able to see the Mass and have desayuno at the same time with about 4,000 fellow worshippers.
La Virgen de la Fuensanta . . .
. . . is in . . .
. . . the house!
Huertano High Mass may now begin
Droopey stockings on our
efficient waiter during the Mass
A MUST buy, a Spanish Cape!
Full dress for the day
Flowers in your hair is not
just a 1960s San Francisco thing
A Family Day
There would be a lot of these WOW moments today.
Simplicity is beautiful too
Prim and Proper Dama
Never too early to start
Castanet dance during the Mass
Part of why this was billed as a Huertano High Mass, I'm sure.
Fun during Mass
Here is a bit of the Mass hi-jinks
As I said, LOTS of people in attendance
You can also smoke during
an outdoor Mass
When it came time for Communion, the army of priests went into the assembled multitude to impart the hosts to the spiritually ready Catholics. Each priest was accompanied by a standard bearer so that the Communicants could find them.
"The Body of Christ"
Nice Shepherd's Staff
A bit of everything at the altar
Who are these guys?
Whoever he is, I love his vest!
Priests, after Mass, taking photos
of La Virgen de la Fuensanta
Time to party!
Maybe we should eat first
Candied apples were tempting
But we were strong.
Damas who asked to pose
Laurie may buy this outfit
for Newbury Park games next Fall
DEFINITELY NOT HUERTANO!!!
Alma de Huertana
Looking great but she is still
Entering the Peña zone
We opted to eat at this one first
I told Laurie that we would have to be careful because as our friends had told us, the prices would be inflated.
Fortunately, La Espateña had a price list posted to warn people before they entered.
Remember my American friends that a Euro is currently worth about $1.09 USD.
A glass of wine, 50 centimos!
A pitcher of wine, THREE EUROS!!
A bottle of beer, 1.10 Euros!!!
Chorizo ala Plancha, 1.10 Euros!!!!
Zarangollo, 1.70 Euros!!!
Our lunch which included a pitcher of wine and four different tapas, embutidos and plancha orders totaled up to a whopping 9.70 Euros, about $10.55 USD.
España . . . WHAT A COUNTRY!!!
A good start to any lunch
At least Laurie thought so
A Family Day
Lots of Flowers
Tribute to a long ago local battle
Never too dressed up enough for
a little Father-Son fútbol in the park
Huertano Bowling Championships
We had to see some of this action.
They use a wooden ball that is bigger
than and similar to a croquet ball
LONG toss bowling
He was casually dressed but he was the best player we saw.
More appropriately dressed
Nine pins in a row
Proper player hydration is a must
The pins aren't big
Human pin resetting
Good wrist action
Somebody made a nice toss
Last Long Toss
After the long tosses, they move in closer for what is called the Copas round of play.
In Copas play, you get one step . . .
. . . throw with a lunge from close range
Nattily dressed Bolos Huertanos crowd
Peña eating crowd
The Shawls were magnificent
Not so basic black
We are going to have
a Grand Daughter soon
Discussions on clothing
The kids looked great
Crowd in front of the Ayuntamiento
Even more ornate
Wanting to dance
Getting ready for the Parade
Another Dance on Plaza Belluga
Everybody Wang Chung Tonight!
Resting after the dance
The missing ingredient? A new shawl that we just purchased on the Plaza Belluga.
It is the third one that Laurie has bought since arriving in Spain.
Simple but good
Such great color
I like the hats
Then he said . . .
Couple on Plaza Belluga
Another couple on Plaza Belluga
Black and Gold again
Lots of horse carriages today . . .
. . . and a donkey too
It was time for another snack, this time at the Peña Huertana "El Azahar".
We ordered four glasses of wine, three croquetas, a tortilla Española and . . .
A paparajote is basically churro dough flattened onto a lemon leaf.
You don't eat the leaf but it is still a great dessert.
Oh, the bill at this Peña was a mere 6.50 Euros.
A show of solidarity with the fans
at Chicago's Wrigley Field
Rosa and her niece and nephew
We met Rosa and Oscar in Barrio del Carmen before heading to the big parade.
At our 5 Euro Parade Seats
The lady next to Laurie provided us with a ton of information as to what we about to see.
Blue is nice
It was getting chilly
Grand Father-Grand Daughter
GREAT looking vest!
Free wine, get your free wine
"You were staring at that blond
American woman in the front row!"
We're a couple too
Here come the floats
Dancers . . .
. . . with castanets!
Dancers in action
A TALL King
The Queen and some Huertanos
on many levels
A GREAT face
Two Woman Man
Lecheros are milkmen. The Parade featured lots of people who are involved in the traditional Huertano industries.
Milkman with lots to deliver
Red and Black
Go Cobras GO!!!
It was a LONG Parade
Don't know what they delivered
on these motorcycles
Preparing snails for your dinner
Back in the day, men like these would collect and store the snails in jugs like the man closest to us is toting. They would leave the snails in the jugs for a few days to let them eliminate their systems without giving them more to eat.
They are the ladies that add the flower designs to shawls like the black one here.
Along for the ride
Marchers with panache
His look is different
Damas on Parade
Love the Dancing
They were good dancers
Vino got Laurie excited
Roses are always nice
A Rabbit and . . .
. . . a Rooster
Hey, the girls from the Ayuntamiento!
Lovely . . .
. . . just plain . . .
. . . LOVELY!
Laurie had to go
Rain Water Collectors
Note the shaved upper body coat
Fat and sassy
A smallish horse
It's a Parade but you still
have to eat
Good looking draught horses
Now, the end of the Parade approached with huge wagons being pulled by tractors. They were going to give away genuine Huertano products either by handing them out or throwing them.
Like Estrella de Levante beer!!!
Laurie caught a bag of olives
Let the begging begin
We had a great time thanks
in large part to the lady in red
Her information and invitation to visit her at her home in Alcanterilla again proved that Spaniards are tan amable!
The Parade was over,
time to head home
In the streets of Murcia,
the party was just getting started
We stopped in at the
Peña Huertana El Zaragüel
for one last snack
Again, it was incredibly cheap.
We enjoyed another GREAT day in tradition bound Murcia!!!