Sunday, 15 November 2009
All Saints Day
1st November is All Saints Day in most of the world. (Preceeded by All Hallows E'en) In Cocentaina (a small town near us) every year there is a huge market. The market can actually trace its origins back to 1346, so the event is still held in Medievel style.
As well at the stall holders, the stalls themselves are dressed up, and the streets are lined with flags and banners. It is a wonderful event, filling up most of the streets through the town.
It is so well organised, that everything is zoned. The original medievel area is in the old town, with craft stalls, artesan foods and lots of staged events. Then, there is a separate food section, with cheeses, hams, olives etc (all local produce). There is also a funfair, a trade area (cars, tractors, fireplaces and anything commercial) and the usual market stalls that you would expect anywhere. In the middle of it all, is an outdoor food court, with huge barbeques, baked potatoes, crepes etc.
We arrived at about 5pm, just as the stalls were re-opening after the siesta, but before the crowds had arrived. As we strolled around, there was lots of shouting.. Just behind us, four medievel guards were escorting their squire and his maiden through the market, and making everyone get out of the way. As they passed us, the squire saw a cheese stall, and insisted on stopping, and sampling the wares. He was very loud about it, making comments on the cheeses he tried. When he was ready to move off, one of the guards had disappeared, and there was a big argument, as he was punished for not paying attention to his duties. All great fun. Later on, we encountered the same group in the main square. They had aprehended a robber and were administering his punishment. Sadly, my Spanish was not quite up to understanding his final sentence, but they took him off with lots of noise and fuss.
We spent about 5 hours wondering around (including eating out)as we were so lucky with the weather.