Archive for Spain

Overnight: Traginers de Balsareny cercavila 2013


Spain Traginers  De Balsareny

I've never like big parades much, e.g., the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, the Rose Bowl parade, Mardi Gras, or anything similar. They're too big, too loud, too impersonal, and too ostentatious. I far prefer smaller parades in smaller towns, the simple 'Fasching' parades in the Black Forest, for instance.

I was admiring the work of a photographer who had taken a picture of a small ancient waterway in the northeast of Spain when I decided to look up the village: Balsareny, near Barcelona. The wiki on the town is very sparse but I did find a video of a parade there and it fits my criteria of a 'good' one.

The title says 'Traginers de Balsareny cercavila' and I had no idea what either 'traginer' or 'cercavila' meant but the parade consisted of many wonderful old horse-drawn vehicles used for hauling. It turns out that a traginer' is the word in Catalan for a 'carrier' and a 'cercavila' is a parade.

I just realized that I did not see a single cross or other religious symbol. Hooray for the paraders!



Flashmob: Ode to Joy


flash mob joy

From YouTube

Flashmob Flash Mob - Ode an die Freude ( Ode to Joy ) Beethoven Symphony No.9

I enjoin you to enjoy Beethoven's Ode to Joy!


Overnight: Humans Wrestle Horses - 'Rapa das Bestas'



I had never heard of this tradition (which some see as animal torture, akin to bullfighting) before. It takes place in the villages of northwestern Spain in the 'Galicia' region. No, not that 'Galicia' if you're thinking of Poland and further east. Galicia in Spain gets its name from Celtic settlers and Galicia - whose borders are a little vague - gets its name from a village called 'Galicja'

Wiki for 'Galicia (Eastern Europe)' - a disputed title, by the way here.

Wiki for 'Galicia (Spain) here.

So...let's talk about the 'Rapa das Bestas'.

As you'll see from the video, it's a real struggle between the villagers who wrestle the horses to the ground so that their manes can be sheared and they can be outfitted with identification tags but it also doesn't take long and the animals are not permanently damaged. It's necessary, according to the practice's defenders, because the horses are wild in the woods near the village 364 other days of the year.

PETA doesn't like it at all.

Here's a Wiki on 'Rapa das Bestas'

The video was made by


Overnight: Petrer, Spain: Festival of Moors and Christians



Just as we have our Civil War reenactments, the Spanish have them, too, but not that Civil War - one which came much earlier, between the 8th and 15th centuries. You can read more about it here.

Festivals commemorate these battles - between Christians and 'Moors' (Muslims from Morocco though not only - hence the name) all through Spain. This video is from the festivities in Petrer.

These festivals are not loved by everyone. You can read about opposition to them here.


Afternoon-Evening Links


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Corruption Across the European Union 'Breathtaking' (EU Report)



I just found this story on the BBC:

Corruption Across the European Union 'Breathtaking'

Note: the map represents the results of the question "Are you personally affected by corruption in daily life?' - not the actual results of the survey.

What I find strange about the story is that I lived in and traveled through Europe for about 17 years and was never asked for a bribe or felt that others were being asked for them or giving them unbidden.

I'm trying to figure at what level this corruption took place, perhaps if you were looking for building permits or dispensations from safety regulations.

I do wonder why the difference between north and south is so high. I do remember many stories from travelers to the former Soviet Union of constantly being asked for bribes to get the simplest things done. I have no idea if anything has changed since then (ca 15 years ago).


Video Overnight Thread- Flashmob Performs Heartwarming ‘Here Comes the Sun’ in Madrid Unemployment Office


I cried. Via.