Friday, November 27, 2009

The anti-Santa faction

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Yes, Virginia. There is an anti-Santa faction.
"How can this be?", I hear you ask.
Una buena pregunta.

Well, the thing is, here en España, the established tradition has always been that children receive their Yuletide gifts from the three Wise Kings -- Caspar, Balthasar and Melchior. As we know, the Magi, or Reyes Magos, don't put in their appearance until the feast of the Epiphany on January 6th. So the prevailing custom throughout Spain, for centuries and centuries, was that little children would hang their stockings on the balcony on January 5th, in anticipation of whatever goodies the Reyes Magos would bring. Unlike that fat old gentleman from the North Pole, Melchior & co are way too dignified to mess with stuff like chimney entrances.

Everything was fine until - inevitably - those nasty hegemonistic Americans, hellbent on subjugating Europe to their materialistic, capitalist will, began to poison the minds of innocent Thpanish tykes with their Saturday morning cartoons, their holiday Christmas specials, their seasonal technicolor motion pictures, all prominently featuring Santa Claus, arriving on December 24th with a cornucopia of consumer goods for young and old alike. It didn't take too long for the avaricious little Iberian rugrats to figure out that here was a perfect opportunity to guilt-trip mama y papa into delivering a double dose of holiday gifties.

A vocal minority of defenders of true Thpanish tradition holds out against the evil influence of the fat interloper from the North Pole (most often they blame Disney), but the battle has essentially been lost, and they are fighting a rearguard action at this stage:

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In related news, tonight the Christmas lights were turned on throughout the city. I am so excited, as I had been afraid it might not happen until after I left. Here are some random photos I took while out walking around earlier this evening.

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The Christmas tree at Sol.

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Lights over the Plaza Mayor.

I know that I will be out shopping this weekend!

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