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.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

As traditional as...

We were in Jumilla today for a while. Jumilla is a town just over the border into Murcia. They have "always" produced wine in Jumilla but it just keeps getting better and better. Today we were there for a very small part of their Fiestas de la Vendimia -the wine harvest festival.

So wine is a traditional crop in Jumilla just as pelotas and gazpacho are traditional food. We Pinoseros also claim wine and gazpacho as our own but as we are only 35km away I suppose that's fair enough. After all it's Yorkshire Pudding not Barnsley, Ripon or Cleckheaton Pudding though thinking about it we do have Bakewell Tart and Caerphilly Cheese. Anyway.

So when do things become traditional? Family names, surnames, generally pass from generation to generation. Surnames like Thompson, son of Tom, are equivalent to the Arabic ibn or bin names whilst the Spanish tend to use -ez endings, as in Dominguez. But why did it stop? My Dad was John so why am I not a Johnson? And if it's Fletcher and Barber and Smith why not Mr. Web Designer?

Although they are quite different outfits Spanish bullfighters, the ones who fight on foot, wear costumes based on 18th Century dress as do their horse mounted counterparts. Why did it stick at the 18th Century - why not the 16th or why aren't they dressed, like cyclists or swimmers, in the latest technologies?

So. Just 35kms between Jumilla and Pinoso but in Pinoso the traditional dress for women, in the Fiestas at least, is an incredibly ornate affair The local women folk dancers wear a much simpler skirt that seems to be of circle of cloth made to work as a skirt by multiple pleats. In the Villazgo festival in Pinoso traditional dress for women is more practical, less ornate and the men wear a black smock and neckerchief. Over in Jumilla the costume is much simpler again. It actually looks like something that people may have worn everyday at some time in the past. Cloth and woven grass shoes, simple skirts or trousers, white shirts for both sexes with shawls for the women and waistcoats and cummerbund like sashes for the men

This traditional clothing is only trotted out for traditional events. Women heading for the supermarket wear everyday skirts and jeans and shirts and tops. If anythinng were traditional summer dress for women at the moment it would be shorts and vests. For men shorts and T-shirts. Flip flops or sandals and not the traditional rope soled alpargatas.

I'm pleased to say that this divide between what's trotted out as traditional and what people actually do is not true of the wine or food. Just as Lancashire Hotpot is alive and well so are local traditional foods. In fact maybe it's time for a nice longaniza sandwich with a drop of monastrell to wash it down?

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