The Monday after…

by Evans Yonson

Barcelona – Today is a public holiday here in Barcelona. They call it the Lunes de Pascua (Easter Monday). It has been a very long week for us here and celebrations were everywhere. This year, I decided not to travel go out of Catalunya because of some reasons that I would writing about here in the future. But staying in Barcelona has been a good decision after all.

I wanted to go to Sevilla this year but since I bought my Mac I have been trying to save money for its monthly payment. Good thing I decided not to fly to Andalucia because weather has been very unpredictable of late. It rained in the south of Spain during the holy weekend.

On Good Friday, I spent the day in the library and went out earlier to shoot a procession. I found this Asian-looking young girl in her procession garb with her Caucasian friend. During my first year in Spain, I found it interesting to see Spanish couples with Asian children in tow. I found out later on that  there has been a lot of Asian children adoptions in Spain. These adoptions are slowly changing the face of the world, but for the good I believe. Unwanted or abandoned Asian children have found their way home to Spain. Everybody happy.

Good Friday smiles.

Spain attracts a lot of tourists during the Easter Week (or Holy Week) due to its Catholic tradition of elaborately dressed-statues and very long processions of colorful gowns of black, violet, red, yellow and so on. Although a Catholic country, Philippines fails in comparison to Mother Spain’s devotion to the celebration of the Passion and Death of the Christ. There are so many contrasting traditions that I find with amusement and curiosity between that of the Philippines and Spain. For one, nobody gets crucified on Good Friday in this side of the world. The solemnity of the procession is another. The Philippines has a melancholic and tranquil flair to the passing of the statues. The Spanish version borders on noise barrage and street party.

The Crucifixion of the Christ.

On Black Saturday, Barcelona celebrated another holiday. It’s called Diada de Sant Jordi. It is the Catalans way of celebrating the International Day of Books. Men give roses to women and the women, on the other hand, give books to men. Books and roses are sold in almost every street corner in Barcelona. The Spanish people, in general, are voracious readers of anything and everything that is written. They read everywhere, in buses and metros, in public places like parks and cafes, and even in the toilets. They always have a ready reading material waiting to be perused. For me, I bought two new photography books that I will giving out to my students this June.

The International Day of Books, Catalan style

Students get special discounts in all the major bookstores in the land during this special day of the year. Discounts galore from novels to reference materials. It’s a fun day for everyone. And to think that we are still in the midst of the Easter season.

On Sunday, they don’t have the traditional salubong like we do in the Philippines. So, I am left with just the idea that the angels and cherubs came earlier while I was still in dreamland with Sant Jordi by my side.

It is Monday, still no classes. But the library is open so I am so back from the weeklong holiday. I have resurrected finally on the Monday after.