Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Frolicking in the shower

As we drove away from Jumilla last night we were amused by groups of young people using the car washes to hose each other down.

We'd been to see the festival of the grape harvest. I'd presumed that this fiesta stretched back in time to hardy Spanish peasants celebrating the start of the harvest. But none of it. As I've been searching for photos it turns out that the local bodegas set up the fiesta in 1972 as a tourist attraction and attract tourists it does.

The streets heave with young people. Older people generally cower away from the passing floats. White is a good colour to wear. It colours up a treat with red wine. Nothing wrong with wearing a traditional swirly skirt and a white blouse (better if you're a woman) or black trousers, white shirt and blue cummerbund (apparently suitable for both sexes though probably traditionally male). Both sexes can wear the alpargatas with high ankle laces (they're the correct footwear for trading grapes). Old clothes are good too, shorts, anything you can rip and cover in wine. Young men seem to be quite keen on ripping the shirts the young women wear as well as their own T shirts. The torn clothes, drenched in wine are hurled into the air. People swim in the wine. People pour wine over their heads. People on the floats pour wine on the crowd from plastic metre cubes brimming with nasty, cheap, early harvest wine.

So everyone is pushing and shoving and drinking and jumping and singing and bawling. Amazingly no vomiting or fighting though. At least we didn't see any. We did see a lot of staggering.

And afterwards they go back to their cars and pour cold water over themselves, or go to the municipally provided showers or pop down the car wash at the local garage. It doesn't matter so long as they can change their clothes and get on with the fiesta

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