LOOKING AHEAD TO 2011 FIESTAS
Andy Ormiston / 2010-12-31 21:00:47
For the Spanish people Nochebuena, or Christmas Eve, is a family affair when all the members get together for a very large intimate meal.
On the other hand Nochevieja, or Hogmanay, is a night for the discothèque or restaurant with friends and welcome another year full of hope and wishes. The third fiesta in a row is the Three Kings when most towns have a cavalcade on the evening of the 5th January; the three wise men arriving in a variety of ways, fishing boats in Torrevieja and other coastal towns, helicopter in part of Alicante, even classic cars, but in Alcoy they Magi still arrive on the hump of dromedaries or horses.
The 6th is the actual feast day, but most places are closed as the children enjoy the gifts left by the wise men who have put them in the children’s shoes. Every year there are campaigns so that every orphan or poor child has some sort of gift and this year has been no exception, probably the other extreme as individuals and groups have really gone out of their way to provide some toy or special delicacy so that everyone in whatever circumstances is able to enjoy the festivities. In January a second kitchen for those not well off will be opened in calle Apollo, Torrevieja.
According to the financial forecasts 2011 is going to be a tougher year financially and this will affect the traditional fiestas, as organisers look desperately for funding and advertisers will be carefully trimming their budgets. It will also mean that many charitable associations will also be scrambling for cash to fulfil existing obligations and longer term projects. A Spanish friend asked me the other day why the British especially, among so many nationalities in the area, are so generous when it comes to good causes, as part of her job is to channel funds donated to the hospital in which she works. Obviously many people feel grateful for the services that they have been given both for themselves, or family members and like to show their gratitude in a material way by donating to a baby unit or cancer ward etc. It is this good will that is so important to all those charitable organisations in the area and needs to be nurtured by being able to show that money donated is wisely used.
I am glad to say that this year’s Fiesta Calendar sponsored by Alamo International was a greater success than ever and helped raise around six thousand euros for various good causes, from disabled children and orphans to the elderly, to the sick and animal shelters. For those who did not manage to obtain a copy of the calendar some are still available in the Alamo International office in Torrevieja town centre and also at Alzheimer’s shop behind the main church. Alamo are working on putting the calendar in a format on their webpage so that the information about holidays and fiestas will be readily available to those with internet access.
So apart from cash problems some fiestas will also be affected by the late date of Easter in April and the 22nd May municipal elections in Spain. Alcoy normally celebrate their flamboyant Moors & Christians fiestas for St. George’s Day, but it clashes with Easter, Mother’s Day on the 1st May, and so have been put back to May and will be celebrated on the second weekend of May.
In Torrevieja there is a high level of integration by various foreign associations, however, there is an obvious need for closer cooperation in regard to events and concerts, as at times it is impossible to enjoy them all, as they fall on the same night. Something that is urgently required is some sort of international action group that can coordinate events so that the most can be made out of the town’s facilities and personnel. Many groups organise events to raise funds for charities and, personally, I think there is also a need to pool and channel resources in some way, so that not only does everyone get a fair share, but also that those performers who generously give their time and talents so freely may at least obtain some expenses. That is my New Year wish. What’s yours?