Living in Spain... and Taking Part in Local Customs
On this day last year, Spaniards – and foreigners living in Spain – woke to the shock/horror news that Meghan Markle would be walking down the church aisle for her marriage to Prince Harry in an “advanced state of pregnancy”.
We also learned that Cristiano Ronaldo was so appalled with his performance in the “Clásico” football match between Real Madrid and Barcelona that he had returned his Golden Ball award.
Then the Guardia Civil police reported on their Twitter account that the “chica de la curva” (“phantom hitchhiker”) had been fined for not wearing a fluorescent vest and warned, “The law has to be the same for everyone.”
Most of us living in Spain – at least once the morning coffee had filtered into our half-asleep brains and we had noticed the date on the mobile screen – soon realised we were being duped.
This day, 28 December, is Día de los Santos Inocentes, Spain’s equivalent of April Fools’ Day. Many of our blog followers not living in Spain will no doubt be more familiar with other equally dramatic headlines from 1 April 2018, such as... “Prince Harry will be drinking laverbread smoothies and engaging in pre-dawn Celtic chanting during his stag weekend (rather than strip billiards)”... and “The EU is planning to field a team at this summer’s World Cup... (and) Harry Kane could line-up against England”... and “Swedish homeware retailer Clas Ohlson brings another product launch announcement – bottles of fresh “Swedish air”.
Religious Feast with a Modern Sense of Mischief
Anyway, you get the drift. The day actually has a religious New Testament connotation, referring to the “Massacre of the Innocents” story in which Herod the Great, King of Judea, is said to have ordered the execution of young male children living around Bethlehem. This Gospel of Matthew nativity narrative is considered among modern scholars to be unfounded, but in religious circles the murdered children are claimed to be the first Christian martyrs, and their 28 December “feast” is known as “Holy Innocents Day”.
As we warn above, however, in Spain and Hispanic America it is also an opportunity for pranksters to enjoy themselves with relative impunity, and for otherwise respected news providers to dabble in a bit of harmless “fake news”.
So, if you a recent arrival now living in Spain, or visiting on holiday this week, or simply checking out Spanish news websites while still back home (and, of course, thinking about moving to the Costa del Sol and buying a dream home in the sun from VIVA), be warned that not everything you read today, or receive in your Facebook feed, is necessarily the truth. And if a Spanish friend makes a rather odd suggestion or request, while battling to hold back a smile, be careful: you could end up being the victim of an “inocentada” and be one of today’s hapless “inocentes”.
Meanwhile, if you are not living in Spain yet – but would like to – VIVA’s extensive and diverse property portfolio and authoritative lifestyle sections are an excellent first step along the way to one day making your dream move to the Costa del Sol.
Contact our Customer Services team for more information and advice.