Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is personal view of Spain and Spanish life as seen by a Briton living in a small village in Alicante province.
The other tabs link to similar blogs when I have lived in other places. The TIM magazine is an English language magazine I write articles for.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Day of the Valencian Community

9th October is a Fiesta in the Valencian Community.

It was the day, in 1238, when King Jaime I, a Christian King, rode into Valencia having driven the Moors out.

100 years later the town council thought it would be a good idea to have a party to celebrate the centenary of the victory. Somehow this one off party became an annual event marked (as are so many things in Spain) by setting off fireworks, especially rockets.

In the 18th Century, after the Spanish War of Succession, celebrating Jaime's victory was banned. As a bit of subversion the local bakers started to make sweets in the shape of the outlawed rockets. The Valencians somehow associated the rocket shaped sweets with male genitalia and, as a bit of an afterthought , they started to make other sweets from marzipan in the shape of the fruits that grow in the province (more fecundity!). A bit of free association and the day became associated with lovers.

It became the tradition for men to give the little marzipan sweets, wrapped in the hanky, to their womenfolk: a local St Valentine's day if you will.

I understood that the sweets and hankies were available in all the cake shops throughout Valencia but in our bit of Valencia, in Pinoso, all the cake shops were shut fast. So my modest attempt at a little romance came to naught.

There was some dancing going on outside the Town Hall though.

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