Fri Dec 8th, 2006 at 07:10:30 AM EST
Today is Constitution Day in Spain and a national holiday. That´s good, but what´s even better is that Friday, Dec. 8 is another holiday: "The Immaculate" ("virgin" Mary). That´s the day when you have to remember every Mary you know to wish them a "happy saint´s day", since everyone gets to celebrate two days a year for themselves, their birthday and their "saint´s day". I am not researching where the latter one came from...
The Mary part is a global warming problem at this point. Just "about every female" in this country and "half the males" have Mary as part of their name. The rivers of ink wasted putting that name on paper, in the past century alone, seems enough damage, but who can measure the brainwashing effect caused by the repetition?
We have María---Jesús/Elena/Gloria/Josefa/Isabel/Fernanda/Esperanza/Luisa/Cristina... María Dolores = Mary Pains, you name it! As to the males, the name Mary is carried in second place, as in Juan/José/Pedro/Jesús---María. Except, of course, for Mario?
From the diaries (Happy Saints Day Maria!) ~ whataboutbob
Add to that, the necessary patron saint and patron virgin, or shred of cloth thereof, that every single hamlet, village, etc. has, and you have a holiday being celebrated in many places at once, all year. Mostly in the summer, but season is not an obstacle. Holy week is coming.
Wait, wait... I´ll get to it.
The ex-cow town I live in, about 12 km. from Madrid, has anointed itself with three, non-exclusive, virgins to keep lots of street decorating, lighting and fireworks companies, plus most awful bands, in business. Not necessarily in this order, we have Our Lady of Consolation, Our Lady of Annunciation and Our Lady of Carmen. The Carmen one happens to be the patron of sea-people, but inlanders think it´s irrelevant.
One of them is enough to call a "big week" in the summer, so city hall is closed, businesses do as they please and banks (multinationals) close at noon, instead of 14:00. Everyday of the week. You know how religious these two-bit politicians and bankers are.
(Sorry object bloggers!) That´s where bridges, or "puentes" come in. This week, in Spain, the weekend started today for a lot of people, under the name of Constitution bridge: No good reason to work Thursday between two holidays, so we "bridge" from Wednesday through Sunday. Next year, for example, it should be from Thursday through Monday, because nobody will give up on "the immaculate"... We are secular.
Does one more person go to church? I doubt it. People, whose parents migrated to the cities, can´t wait to get in the car and go to some popular "rural scene", or other. To the coast, if they can. The big cities are nicer when many people are gone! The tension goes down, people seem more relaxed and open, you see more smiles (maybe because they have found a place to park). I feel better in general because I can walk without "opposition", adjusting and going with the flow. I think the air is cleaner, too.
If someone studied the differences, they may find that city populations on puente weekends are the ideal, maximum impact on the planet right now. I consider leaving everyday and Sunday, my internet and I, will. Bridge, or no bridge, I swear.