Holy Days of Obligation

You HAVE to go to Mass, it’s a Holy Day of Obligation.  Get there smartly, don’t slinge.

The standard answer to “Mass again? But, why….???” when I was a skinny small teenager with a big fat attitude.  So, sulking, we would dutifully slinge up that hill to St Mary’s and stand outside the back door, acting as cool as we could under the circumstances.  One of us having drawn the short straw would be sent in to hear the message from the homily, so we’d all have the same answer when we got home – sort of singing from the same hymn sheet I guess.

Today is yet another H.D.O. in Spain.  Puente del Pilar – the pueblo church bells of San Miguel are ringing as I type, but I think there will be more than just a few blue rinse jobs there today, as it’s also the day of the Spanish military celebrations.  Any excuse for the Guardia Civil to tuck their trousers into their mirror-shined boots and wear the three cornered hat.  I find it intimidating to be honest – but I guess that’s the idea.

It’s also Hispanic day for the Spanish speaking world. Día de la Hispanidad commemorates the day Columbus first set foot in the Americas  – so there’s plenty to celebrate today.

copyright Carol M Byrne

For our village, it’s another opportunity to come home to the countryside and be fed by Mami, a reason for the Abuela to to grin toothlessly, another day to be spoiled for the Nieto.

The village Great and the Good will be invited to the local police station to have a few bevvies, denuncias and feuds forgotten for a few hours, at least as long as the Brugal flows.

Then, as full as proverbial ticks, they’ll weave their way home to sleep. Tomorrow it’s back to normality.  Quiet once again, the square chimneys will send blue spirals of smoke to fight the chilly autumn evening.  The scent of Almond wood will hang heavily in the air, and the sound of tractors and chainsaws in the distance.  Until the next fiesta – it won’t be long!

Abuela – Granny

Nieto – Grandson

Brugal – Popular Spanish Rum

Puente – Bridge – or extra day off work tagged onto the weekend for post-shenanigan sore heads 

Walk this way. If you’re Jewish.

Fences at Ceuta and Melilla may be impenetrable to fleeing immigrants, but the Spanish borders there and on the mainland look set to come down for the once-banished Sephardic communities from around the world.

Star_of_David.svg

Unwanted guests

Kicked out by Ferdinand and Isabel back in 1492, it looks as though the host country is having a re-think of the guest list.

The option of converting to Catholicism, leaving their homeland, or dying wasn’t much of a choice for the Jewish community in Spain back then, and most left, eventually scattering all around the world.

A time of great importance,  as the expulsion of the Jews also became a turning point in the history of Spain.

So, what’s changed?

On October 2nd, tomorrow, Spain begins reviewing citizenship rights to the relatives of those who lost their homes and homeland back in the 15th century.  It’s all thanks to the passing of LAW 12/2015 earlier this year, which grants citizenship to relatives of Sephardic Jews.  Under this law, the relatives of the formerly displaced Jews will not have to actually visit a sun, sand, or Sangria Costa to take advantage of the changes.  All they need to do is hire a notary, and pass a couple of tests on language and history.  We can presume they’re well versed in the latter.

Where are they now?

The majority of new citizenship titles are expected to come from Morocco, Venzuela, and Turkey. Perhaps a gate and a welcome sign will have to be inserted in some of those fences, after all.  It’s a funny old world.