A few weeks ago, our good friend Lola invited us to the Feria de Santiago at her pueblo of El Garabato. Now, we’ve seen the big ferias in Córdoba, culminating in Semana Santa with all the processions through the streets. In addition to the big events, there are myriads of small processions in even the smallest pueblos. People hasten to explain that these aren’t religious events; although they parade the religious images through the streets, they’re mostly an excuse to stay out late and eat and drink and chat and drink and listen to music and drink and dance. Oh, and they drink a bit too.
In the heat of the summer, nothing of importance happens during the day. We arrived in El Garabato after dark to visit with Lola’s extended family and have a bite to eat. Oh, and a little something to drink as well. We wandered out to the plaza (even the small pueblos have a central plaza, though it may be little), where the procession was supposed to start at 9:30. The priest hadn’t yet arrived, but that was no problem. Everyone passed the time chatting and listening to music. Oh, and there was a little drinking.
Around 10:00, somebody called the priest, who actually lives in a larger pueblo called La Carlota. It turned out that he’d forgotten about the procession, and said to go ahead without him. Everyone agreed that this called for another drink. Someone explained that the priests don’t really encourage these processions; for some reason, they don’t think they’re terribly spiritual events. Go figure.
The procession was smaller, and the image was much smaller, but everyone enthusiastically paraded down the streets. There was a small marching band, and fireworks from time to time. Once back in the plaza, we all enjoyed flamenco dance demonstrations from the kids in the local dance schools. The heat of the evening naturally called for more drinks. Around midnight, we went back to Lola’s mother’s house for the real cena. (We still haven’t really become accustomed to these late night meals, but it was quite good.) Then it was back to the plaza for more music and dances and….you guessed it!...more drinks. We finally got home around 3:00 in the morning.
All in all, it was quite a fun excursion. Oh, did I mention that there was some drinking?