Lean Lenten days 

Image: BlueOrange Studio/BlueOrange Studio

SPAIN lustily embraces any excuse for a fiesta, including those not traditionally their own, like Halloween and the commercialised version of St Valentine’s Day. 

Now the hearts and red roses have all been sold, and the next big date on the calendar is Easter although the welcome for chocolate eggs is still on the lukewarm side.  

The Spanish continue to prefer an Easter mona, a sort of round fruit loaf without the dried fruit, topped with an unshelled egg.  Even so, an international vibe has crept in because the smaller ones omit the egg but come in all shapes including cute animals with sprinkles for children. 

Lent comes first of course, preceded by a noisy and colourful Carnival instead of Shrove Tuesday pancakes although both are based on one final blowout and a good time before Ash Wednesday descends, heralding Lent. 

In pious times this involved eating less meat and more fish, which inland meant salt cod and even in these impious and well-communicated times it currently features in a display in my local Consum. 

By the end of the Sixties, Lent was less grim than those my husband remembered as a small child although his non-churchgoing family ignored doctrine anyway.  They’d had enough of short commons immediately after the Civil War when fasting was not a devout choice but the outcome of fighting for the wrong side. 

Showbusiness came to a halt in Holy Week but was compensated by God business and processions.  Spanish television, nothing special at the time, was even worse during the days preceding Easter and the radio was dominated by sombre music. 

Except once. 

Between one dirge and another I was stunned and delighted to hear Dionne Warwick singing Do You Know the Way to San Jose. 

I imagine whoever compiled the playlist saw San Jose and deemed it suitable listening for Holy Week.  Or were they as numbed with worthy piety as I was and slipped it in deliberately? 

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.