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Seems like ages since we had a fiesta down in the pueblo. Could even be a couple of weeks or more. No worries, last night was La noche de San Juan. To celebrate the onset of the tourist-fleecing season, effigies of a normal-looking couple called Juan and Juanita are taken down to the beach for a good burning. By the uncomfortable looks on the faces of one pair of effigies, stuffed into a car made of cardboard, they had been deliberately fashioned to represent a couple of unsuspecting holidaymakers. To add to the atmosphere they were being escorted by a gleeful mob of hundreds.
Why on earth would anyone want to do that? I had to look it up. I discovered it’s a tradition to make bonfires of unwanted furniture and other old stuff on June 23rd throughout the Iberian Peninsula. It dates back to pagan times. There are various little ceremonies, such as jumping through bonfires, that can bring good luck. Knowing my luck, my trousers would catch fire. Burning effigies does seem a bit pagan, though I think Christians burned more than their fair share of women, local priests didn’t approve of, back in the Middle Ages.
The massive bonfire next to the beach was lit just after dark. More than fifteen feet high with flames and cinders roaring high into the night sky, no volunteers stepped forward to jump over it for good luck. It had been preceded by a parade of drummers and dancers with Christina, one of our neighbours, getting up on stilts to become the star of the occasion.
We might as well enjoy the relative peace while we can, the pueblo it set to be bursting at the seams with tourists over the next three months.
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