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!

A Barraca

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 . . .
howling wolf?

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.

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

Such finery

Alpargata shoes with
traditional stockings

 Mysterious Dama

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
Good look

Better look

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


Traditional Beauty

You can also smoke during
an outdoor Mass

Communion Banner

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


 Laurie Contreras
Alma de Huertana

 Looking great but she is still
missing something

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

Good toss

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

Copas action

Nattily dressed Bolos Huertanos crowd


Peña eating crowd

Picnic time

The Shawls were magnificent

Not so basic black

We are going to have
a Grand Daughter soon

 Discussions on clothing

Very ornate

Doña strolling

 The kids looked great

Crowd in front of the Ayuntamiento

Even more ornate

Wanting to dance

 Gracias Madre

Getting ready for the Parade



Another Dance on Plaza Belluga

Everybody Wang Chung Tonight!

Resting after the dance

Johnny Depp?


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.

Handsome couple


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 . . .

Two Paparajotes!

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.

Sensible Shoes

Blue is nice

It was getting chilly

 So Stylish

 Gossip Time

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


The Queen and some Huertanos

Disturbing Silkworms
on many levels

A GREAT face

 Standard Bearer

 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

In charge

Preparing snails for your dinner

Snail Collectors

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.

Thank you.


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

The Band

More Dancers

Damas on Parade

Looking GOOD!

Love the Dancing

They were good dancers 

More Entertainment

Vino got Laurie excited

 Happy Child

Roses are always nice

More Music

A Rabbit and . . .

. . . a Rooster

Hey, the girls from the Ayuntamiento!

Lovely . . .

. . . just plain . . .

. . . LOVELY!

BIG Animals

Nice Yolk

Laurie had to go

Tough Haul

Classic Huertano

Rain Water Collectors

Huertano Horse?

Note the shaved upper body coat

Fat and sassy

A smallish horse

Nine mules

 It's a Parade but you still
have to eat

 Good looking draught horses


Nice Legs

Hairy Horse

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

Laurie's haul

 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!!!


David said...

I think that blue-and-white suit is what you need to wear on the sidelines.

George said...

I am in negotiations with my tailor as I write but it will be a red and black combination to match my vest..