Pelele – Spanish Impotency Effigy

January 29, 2013 By: erik Category: Partying, Spain, Weird

Pelele, GoyaMy three-year-old daughter has been instructed by her teacher to bring in some old clothes that no longer fit for the Pelele celebration. According to this Spanish Wikipedia article, the Pelele is a rag doll or straw puppet that is thrown high up into the air by a group of women during the Carnival (Mardi Gras) celebrations in Madrid, while they sing about beating him to death. The doll is later burned. Ritual burnings are common in Europe around the solstices, as an ancient pagan symbol of rebirth. The symbolism of burning your old clothes is pretty straightforwardly similar, however, I suspect that the use of old clothes is more about getting straw into a humanoid shape. The real reason for the doll becomes apparent upon listening to the lyrics of the song.
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Halloween 2012 – Pumpkin Carving with Carmen

October 28, 2012 By: erik Category: Offspring, Partying, Photos, USA

Jack-o-LanternTonight we did our annual October tradition of pumpkin carving. Unfortunately, the pumpkins we were able to get this year were pretty sad. The shape was okay, but they were small with incredibly thick walls. So small, that the face I carved had to have its features so close together that we had a bit of an accident in which the eye hole broke through to the nose hole. Mistakes happen even to the worst of us pumpkin carvers.
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Sloppy Joes on San José

March 19, 2012 By: erik Category: Food, Offspring, Partying, Photos, Religion, Spain

Sloppy JoeI’ve invented a new American in Spain tradition! It’s a little similar to my Fourth of July Hamburgerfest. Today, you see, is San José, Saint Joseph’s Day. All the days have saints assigned to them here in Catholic Spain, and March 19 happens to be assigned to Saint Joseph, the poor old shepherd who, according to dogma, never got to have sex with his wife and still had to raise a son that was not his own. That’s rough.
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Royal Names in Spanish

April 30, 2011 By: erik Category: England, Musings, Spanish, Weird

Royal Seal of Reina IsabelThe Spanish news and gossip media has been aflutter lately with stories about the British royal family. It’s reminded me about a really bizarre phenomenon when it comes to names of members of the royal family. For some reason they are translated into their Spanish equivalent. For instance, the current monarch of England is called Reina Isabel. She and her husband, Principe Felipe have a son, Principe Carlos, who is next in line to the throne. Carlos has two sons, Principe Guillermo and Principe Enrique. That sounds so weird. In no other circumstance are names translated like this.
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