Sunday, April 22, 2007

St. Jordi's Day, booze, Romans and emus....



Happy Saint Jordi's Day!!!! This translates as Saint George's day...either way he is the patron Saint of Catalonia, along with England, and his day is a biggie.... Traditionally all the women receive a flower and the men a book. My husband, when he remembered, used to give me both as he knew I would far prefer a book, and don't really care for the slight insult to my gender's intelligence that is implied.

The placa is filled with stands selling roses and books...I even received one myself from one of my students...it normally is the tradition that it is only done between couples and mothers and their sons....but this is changing. Indeed this morning as we saw all the kids heading off to school with the roses with the little Catalan flags tucked into them for their teachers I figured that once again we had missed the boat on the local events and were going to be the ONLY ones who didn't bring a flower for the teacher, but no, only some of the kids brought them...*phew*



That's the flower I got from a student...isn't it lovely? From his garden, and it smells faintly, but very nice. I have it in a very stylish plastic water bottle. Vases haven't made it to the top of the to do list yet.

More about the Romans, after talking to the man, who understood much much more about what was going on, partially because he understands the d*mn language, but also because he managed to score a spot at the rail without either the kids or the dog, and so was able to concentrate....a couple of interesting things he passed on were that the tents that the Romans used were made of goat skins...seems inefficient, it would take an awful lot of goat skins to make one ten...the smaller ones would fit a good sized SUV...but....the skins are lighter than others...a serious consideration if you are walking from Paris to Barcelona....

Another interesting fact is that each legion was given a symbol, the statue of which was carried, gilded, on the top of a standard that was brought into battle...if this standard was lost in a fight, or presumably in any other way, the legion was disbanded, and would never be reformed, struck from the roles, and the soldiers would be divided up and put into other groups. There was presumably a lot of shame attached to this....the standard was supposed to be a representative if Jupiter, one of the gods, and this is presumably why there was such a serious consequence to it's loss.


I was talking to one of the ladies at work, and she was saying that it is normal here for people to go out on Sunday morning and have a vermouth and something to drink...it is so common that there is a phrase around it, "fa vermouth" make vermouth...so you could say, let's go make vermouth when you wanted to do this, like our, "let's do lunch"....this also explains the menu in some of the restaurant/bars locally....there are lists of tapas, and then there are vermouths, but under the list are cheese, and other appetizers...these would be things commonly eaten on Sunday morning with the vermouth. It seems strange to me, puritanical North American, to be drinking liquor on a Sunday morning, but by the same token, they don't get thrashed here the way North Americans and Brits do, there is no such thing as a lager-lout here...they drink, but seemingly always in moderation. I am sure that there are alcoholics like everywhere else, but as a general run of things, they all drink just a bit, though regularly. It seems healthier than this tendency to get completely wasted, and then with some folks, to brag about it the next day, like getting sh*t-faced and barfing is a great accomplishment.

For Dorky Dad, and anyone else who is interested, here are EMU pictures, I walked over this morning with the lady who wants English practice. They aren't as cute as they used to be, they were like perambulating humbugs, but still kinda sweet. The Catalan lady thinks that they are going to be eaten...

OH! and I startled a PHEASANT into flying away this morning...amazing, eh? The Catalan lady I was with didn't even know what it was....It was lovely. Here's the emus....



5 comments:

Jocelyn said...

Goat skins! Yes, that does seem inefficient.

I love the emu photos...and all the little tidbits I pick up whenever I visit your site.

kate said...

I have to say, I am all over that vermout thing. Actually we only get to do it in the village, and not every time, but still, it rocks!

Beth said...

Another mini-history lesson - thanks!
And what a beautiful rose.

Trish said...

I don't care much for vermouth but tapas? That's the way I'd like to eat all my meals...just grazing on little tidbits of this and that.

oreneta said...

Jocelyn: It was quite the patchwork tent...

Kate: I haven't done it yet, only heard about it, it does seem pretty cool though...

Beth: The rose looks even better today, opening out more and it is more fragrant...

Trish: I agree with you, grazing is a great way of eating....