24 jul 2018

Weekend in a Spanish Pueblo

If you have been living in Madrid this summer chances are you have overheard a Spaniard talking about heading to their respective pueblo in summer for the annual fiestas. As the novia of a Spaniard, it is my duty, nay, privilege, to attend the pueblo fiestas every summer as well. When Raul first started telling me about the parties in his village, I was confused as he was born and raised in the city of Valencia. He explained to me that when a Spaniard says “mi pueblo” that he or she can be referring to the village of his or her mother, father, grandparent, great-grandparent, etc. Essentially, there is a village party for everyone. Please note, however, this is not like your typical block party in the States…

In my case, I have only been to the party in Raul's village (and only once for that matter) but according to Raul there are certain underlying activities that are present in the annual parties of most pueblos. The fiestas, which almost always take place in August and usually last around a week, typically include an afternoon devoted to a bullfight. Since the village I went to (population: 161) did not have its own plaza de toros, obviously, the main square was boarded up with plywood and a makeshift arena was born. We all put on our matching t-shirts, cracked open a can of Mahou and tried to enjoy the show. Now, I am not a fan of bullfighting in general, so this rowdy, village-style, amateur bullfight was a bit more gruesome than I could handle.  

Another (more pleasant) evening was spent in the pueblo's meeting place. It is essentially a type of salon used for village parties and gatherings. It is here that we enjoyed a long night of dancing, courtesy of the music of the neighboring village´s DJ, or Day Jota as I like to call him, complete with Spanish 80's music and a smoke machine. Now we're talking.

We also spent a lot of time in the various peñas of the pueblo. A peña is a sort of clubhouse that groups within the pueblo (and their various family members that come for the parties every year) use to hold parties. We spent an entire night going from peña to peña in the village and meeting the various groups of friends. Prior to our “club hopping”, we grilled a fresh pig in our peña (face and all) to provide the proper base before the long night ahead.

In the nearly two years that I have been living in Spain, the time spent in an authentic pueblo have by far been the most “Spanish” and foreign to me. If you happen to be driving through the Spanish countryside this summer do not be surprised to see a makeshift concert on the street, a foam party (yes, there was one last year), rides, games, street vendors, etc. If you are feeling particularly brave, you can even make a quick stop and grab a churro to take in the action.

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