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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Spring in Valencia

In the past I have always answered that Summer is my favourite season, when asked. I love Summer in Spain, even if it does get a little too hot in the height of the day, but that's what Siesta Time is for. Everybody does it, not just we old folks, and it's called siesta, not naptime. Siesta time is to die for, and the principal reason I came to Spain.

However, I have been doing some thinking about this subject because I realise I have been selling Springtime in Spain short. To get to the joys of Summer we have to experience the wonders of Spring. How could I have missed it? In my country we have Summer, and the next thing we know we have Winter. If there are Autumn and Spring periods in Bermuda we don't notice because everything is always green there, but here autumn sees plants turn brown, and this year the country, except Valencia, has been well and truly snowed in. So, it is with great joy that the country has welcomed back the sun in all its glory, and people are able to sit out in the sunshine and feel warmth about themselves.

In Valencia, Spring means that the province awakens from its Winter hibernation with a great big bang. I mean that literally. March madness means the Festival of Fallas when for three full weeks we make so much noise with fireworks, both daytime and at night. Children go around with petardos and lighters to see how high grandparents can jump. At the City Hall in Valencia City there is a daily 2pm firework display that grows in intensity every day. We fool ourselves into thinking that those big bangs are fireworks, but in Iraq and Syria they are called ordanance. The shows usually lasts between five and seven minutes, but it is the most violent five/seven minutes one could ever ask for.

Why do we make so much noise, twenty-four hours a day? We say that we are chasing old man Winter away. The thing is, it always works, so no need to change that then!

There is singing, concerts, dancing, parades, a band might follow you into the Metro and then play loudly and you would dance if there was room. We eat too much, drink far too much booze, and there are bullfights, both the kind where the bull is killed for the supermarket, and where only the skill of the humans is the main thing. They try to keep the incidence of the bullfighter getting killed to a minimum as there is not a lot to do with a human dead body.

The culmination of the celebrations is the destruction of monuments that have taken a year to create at costs that average a fullscale house, by blowing them up and burning them down where they stand in the street. So far, after so many years of doing the same thing the town is still standing. Also, it's no coincidence that on that day, March 19th, we celebrate Father's Day. Apparently, Valencia fathers don't do sedate lunch celebrations with the kids.

I have changed my answer to Springtime in Valencia as my most favourite time because it's when orange trees hang heavy with golden orbs and are harvested; it's when my garden burst forth in flowers, and my spirit actually takes a leap towards the sun. Its the time of year when hope comes alive with the warmth of the sun.

Springtime in Valencia; all's well with the world. Happiness has returned, and that is good!

Copyright (c) 2015  Eugene Carmichael

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