Easter Celebration in Spain : Torrija

Locally known as Semana Santa (Holy Week), Easter is the most important celebration in Spain, and stands out for its epic brotherhoods’ processions and unique, age-old traditions specific to each region.

Srapallo, watercolor, Casa de las Torrijas, Madrid, 2018.
Srapallo, watercolor, Casa de las Torrijas, Madrid, 2018.

The atmosphere that characterizes the festivities is usually solemn, the picture spectacular, and everything seems fully immersed in emotion. Don’t let yourself be fooled, though – this is still Spain, which means neither the strong religious beliefs nor the somberness of the moment can hide the nation’s fervor for pomp and lively fiestas.

These being said, let’s take a closer look at the distinctive customs and traditions that accompany Semana Santa in various Spanish provinces.

Here, the most important Catholic holiday is commemorated with a week full of color, art, religious fervor, and extravagant processions. The most spectacular events take place in Malaga and Seville, where the streets are taken over by flamboyant parades and intricate religious displays depicting biblical scenes.

Like everywhere in Spain, the festivities begin on Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) and last until Easter Monday (Lunes de Pascua), with the most dramatic and passionate parades held on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

While the Semana Santa festivities in Andalusia are the most spectacular, the ones in Castile and León are often regarded as some of the most authentic, solemn, and austere in the entire country. Among the cities that hold remarkable processions are León, Zamora, Salamanca, Toledo, Avila, Segovia, and Valladolid.

This scrumptious calorific treat is traditionally eaten in Spain over Easter.

Madrid-based food blogger Anneke Kooijmans shares a recipe for the classic Spanish Easter dish Torrijas with The Local which she describes as “like French toast, but different…”

Srapallo, watercolor, Torrijas, Madrid, 2018.
Srapallo, watercolor, Torrijas, Madrid, 2018.

TORRIJAS
(Serves two)

Torrijas are a Spanish Easter dessert, they are like French Toast, but different.

Ingredients:

250 milliliters milk
Zest of one lemon
¼ bar of French bread, in thick slices
1 egg, lightly beaten, in a shallow bowl
Good quality olive oil
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup water
1 tablespoon honey
Kitchen towels

I hope you enjoy and Happy Easter!!!!!

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Eremita de San Frutos (Saint Fructus) – Sepúlveda/Segovia

There are only reminiscing of the church itself. Saint Fructus (Spanish: San Fruitos, Frutos, Fructos) was a Castilian hermit of the eighth century venerated as a saint. Christian tradition states that he had two siblings, named Valentine (Valentín) and Engratia (Engracia). They all lived as hermits on a mountain in the region of Sepúlveda. Engratia should not be confused with the 4th-century Portuguese martyr of the same name.

Born in the 7th century to a noble family of Segovia, Fructus and his two siblings sold their family possessions after their parents’ death and gave the earnings to poor. Wishing to escape from the city and the turbulent times, they established themselves on the rocky terrain near the village of Sepulveda now known as the Hoces del Duratón, where they lived apart from one another in caves that ensured them complete solitude.

Tradition holds that Valentine and Engratia were later martyred around 715 by advancing Moorish forces, and that Fructus died of natural causes in the same year at the age of 73.

Legends

A legend states that some locals, wishing to join Fructus in his retreat to his death, traveled there, only to be pursued by Moorish forces to the very door of Fructus’ hermitage. Fructus attempted to convert the Muslim soldiers, but without success. The legend goes on to state that Fructus drew a line across the earth, asking that the Moorish forces not cross it. When they ignored him and attempted to cross, the earth miraculously opened up to swallow them up, at a crack in the rock now called La Cuchillada. From that point on, the Moors did not bother Fructus.[2]

Veneration

They are venerated as the patron saints of Segovia, where their relics are enshrined and are recognized as saints of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Rome.

Fructus, Valentine and Engratia are commemorated on 25 October by Western Rite Orthodox communities, and in the Roman Catholic Church.

Their relics were conserved in the hermitage of San Frutos from the 8th century to the 11th, when they were translated to Segovia Cathedral. The area of Fructus’ hermitage suffered various political and military vicissitudes; this area was conquered by Fernán González before being annexed by Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir in 984. It fell to Christian control once again in 1011 through the efforts of Sancho García of Castile, and in 1076 was repopulated by Alfonso VI of Castile. By the 1070s, the Benedictines had established a church in honor of Saint Fructus in the area, as well as an adjoining monastery.

On the night of October 24 is celebrated the procession in honor of Fructus known as the Paso de la Hoja (“Turn of the Page”). A sculpture of Fructus rests in a niche in this cathedral. This sculpture has Fructus holding a book; according to local legend, it is the “Book of Life”: when Fructus turns to the last page, the world will end.

Fructus’ feast day is celebrated with music and contests, and devotees also celebrate his feast day at the park of Hoces del Río Duratón, where they accompany a statue of Fructus.

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Santiago de Compostela (El camino) or The Way of St. James

This is my first blog in 2018. My last one was in June 2017. I had my personal journey fighting against cervical cancer last year and I had no energy whatsoever to post anything. Well, I’m still here! But after surgery in July and the beginning of chemo at the end of August, I’ve manage to travel to  Galícia and visited the city of Santiago de Compostela and the surroudings cities, Muxia, Ézaro, Carnota, Corcubión, Muros, Noia and also Finisterre, the last post of pilgrimage. I confess I didn’t do the whole “camino” but, you know, due to the circumstance at that particular moment of my life, I was happy just being there and somehow feeling blessed. Spain is a wonderful country to travel, full of history, wonderful food and spectacular wineries. It’s an energetic country to feel alive and enjoy living!! Something like “La Fiesta” therapy.

I love traveling by car. From Madrid to Santiago de Compostela is like 5.2 hours driving and the sightseeing change completely from the arid weather in Castilla La Mancha to a humid and ultra green meadows in Galicia. And I love eating fresh products from local producers. I specially recommend “O Graneiro de Amelia” (www.ograneirodeamelia.gal) where you can buy grains, species, dry nuts, teas and herbs. The colors, the smell of species and honey…. indescribable!!! And don’t forget to eat the Almond Tart, also a local food tradition.

There are eight main Camino de Santiago pilgrimage routes in Spain:

Camino Frances – the busiest route.
Via de la Plata – the longest Camino.
Camino del Norte – along the sea.
Camino Ingles The English Road – the shortest Camino.
Camino Portugues, (finishes in Santiago de Compostela but starts in Portugal).
Camino Primitivo. the original one.

Even if you don’t do the Camino, visit the city, the Cathedral and also Santa Maria la Real de Sar, a medieval church from XVI Century. From the cathedral’s balcony you can contemplate the beauty of the roofs and the city’s skyline. Unfortunately the frontal cathedral’s facade (The Obradoiro) is being restored and only will be re-opening on 2023. Well, I’ll have to come back somehow!

The Way of St. James (El Camino) was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during the Middle Ages. Legend holds that St. James’s remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain, where he was buried in what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela. (The name Santiago is the local Galician evolution of Vulgar Latin Sancti Iacobi, “Saint James”.)

The Way can take one of dozens of pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela. Traditionally, as with most pilgrimages, the Way of Saint James began at one’s home and ended at the pilgrimage site. However, a few of the routes are considered main ones. During the Middle Ages, the route was highly travelled. However, the Black Death, the Protestant Reformation, and political unrest in 16th century Europe led to its decline. By the 1980s, only a few pilgrims per year arrived in Santiago.

Most pilgrims carry a document called the credencial, purchased for a few euros from a Spanish tourist agency, a church or parish house on the route, a refugio, their church back home, or outside of Spain through the national St. James organization of that country. The credencial is a pass which gives access to inexpensive, sometimes free, overnight accommodation in refugios along the trail. Also known as the “pilgrim’s passport”, the credencial is stamped with the official St. James stamp of each town or refugio at which the pilgrim has stayed. It provides pilgrims with a record of where they ate or slept, and serves as proof to the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago that the journey was accomplished according to an official route, and thus that the pilgrim qualifies to receive a compostela (certificate of completion of the pilgrimage).

The “Way of St James” is marked by a scallop shell, a symbol of humility that also served practical purposes for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. The shell was the right size for gathering water to drink or for eating out of as a makeshift bowl. The pilgrim’s staff is a walking stick used by pilgrims to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela.

Most often the stamp can be obtained in the refugio, cathedral, or local church. If the church is closed, the town hall or office of tourism can provide a stamp, as can nearby youth hostels or private St. James addresses. Many of the small restaurants and cafes along the Camino also provide stamps. Outside Spain, the stamp can be associated with something of a ceremony, where the stamper and the pilgrim can share information. As the pilgrimage approaches Santiago, many of the stamps in small towns are self-service due to the greater number of pilgrims, while in the larger towns there are several options to obtain the stamp.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santiago_de_Compostela

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Plaza de Olavide – Chamberi

SRapallo, Dog 1, watercolor and ink, 2017
SRapallo, Dog 1, watercolor and ink, 2017

Plaza de Olavide

 

Again a enjoyable place located in my neighborhood, Chamberi. We go there a lot, specially on weekends. When my daughter came to visit, she took some pictures of dogs and children playing. Later on I used the pictures she took as a reference photos. This is an all-in one plaza for me: coffee-shops, a jazz club, bars, restaurants, an ice cream parlor, a drugstore and a hotel. There is also a playground for children and a tiny bookstore in the center of the plaza which specializes in used books and vintage post cards and pictures of Madrid.

What I love about it is that, on one hand, it is your neighborhood plaza. Not just the place to sit for a drink or to have brunch, but also where people take their children after school, or where they walk their dogs while reading the newspaper. And on the other hand, Plaza de Olavide is the starting point of a night out on the town because many cool clubs and restaurants are in this same area. It has it all, daytime activities and nighttime fun.

Its location also helps to make it even more charming, because is at a walking distance from Gran Vía and very close to Plaza Colón. Also pedestrian street Fuencarral, filled with all kinds of shops, is 10 min away. It would seem busy and noisy at times, but it could also feel quiet and calm at certain hours. It depends on what you want to do, but it is definitely worth a visit.

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Mr. Blue Crab

Mr Blue Crab

SRapallo, Blue Crab, watercolor, 2017
SRapallo, Blue Crab, watercolor, 2017

 

For this artwork I choose a blue king crab. Mr. Blue Crab is really beautiful ans has light blue spots on his back.I had made it already digital art and yesterday I made it in watercolor. I decide to post both.

Callinectes sapidus (from the Greek calli- = “beautiful”, nectes = “swimmer”, and Latin sapidus = “savory”), the blue crab, Atlantic blue crab, or regionally as the Chesapeake blue crab, is a species of crab native to the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, and introduced internationally. C. sapidus is of significant culinary and economic importance in the United States, particularly in Louisiana, North Carolina, the Chesapeake Bay, and New Jersey. It is the Maryland state crustacean and is that state’s largest commercial fishery.[2]

Blue Crab Watercolor

Sennelier watercolor on hand.book paper and Micron pen.

Blue Crab Digital Art

SRapallo, Blue Crab Digital, 2017
SRapallo, Blue Crab Digital, 2017

 

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#BeBoldForChange

This is a call  to help forge a better working world – a more gender inclusive world.

SRapallo, Womens Day 2017

Supporting International Womens Day 2017

https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

Artfinder

To stop sexism in the Art world

http://equality.artfinder.com/

____________________

1. #BeBoldForChange campaign for progressive employers

Women’s careers website Where Women Work is calling on progressive employers to explain how they’re taking bold action to help create more inclusive environments. Their sister website is also championing a #BeBoldForChange campaign across the Asia Pacific region.


2. #BeBoldForChange campaign by police for local community

Hampshire Police in the UK’s are running a #BeBoldForChange social media campaign sees 26 people from their Constabulary explain how they are being bold for change in order to raise greater awareness about equality. Here are some highlights: PC Tracey DimmerInspector Jill KingstonPC Vicky WongPC Tracey Pool and more, including Superintendent Alison Heydari‘s passionate call for people to #BeBoldForChange and report hate crime.


3. #BeBoldForChange campaign challenging art world inequality

Artfinder is stamping out s*xism in the art world and, in association with International Women’s Day 2017, is asking art organisations around the world to #BeBoldForChange and share their data on gender representation, because gender inequality in the art world is a huge issue.


4. #BeBoldForChange campaign supporting equality in sports

Dulwich Hamlet Football Club in the UK’s #BeBoldForChange campaign sees players wearing a specially commissioned one-off purple kit with International Women’s Day branding in lieu of their famous pink and blue colours. The players’ kit also features IWD’s charity partners, Catalyst and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).


5. #BeBoldForChangeGlobal campaign rallying corporate employees

From every geography and field of work, global company AECOM‘s #BeBoldForChange campaign recognizes the contributions of women, advancing them into leadership positions, serving as mentors for others, and identifying and combating unconscious bias – and they’ve created a special #BeBoldForChange Impact Blog.


6. #BeBoldForChange campaign encouraging women to code

General Assembly is running a #BeBoldForChange campaign that sees events run across the world in 11 major cities encouraging more women into technology and coding – in association with women’s groups like Where Women Work, Women 2.0 and more.


7. #BeBoldForChange campaigns by universities

The University of Sheffield runs their #BeBoldForChange campaign to look for your stories and nominations based on bold actions being taken by their people to help drive gender parity.

Trinity College Dublin is running a week-long schedule of International Women’s Day events from film screenings, lectures, lunches, performances and podcasts – and even a special #BeBoldForChange hashtag competition.

While the University of Hull‘s #BeBoldForChange campaign sees the University’s first ever all female photo-shoot for students at the University, along with a program of 20+ events reflecting great strides women have made at the University.

And the University of East London‘s #BeBoldForChange campaign for International Women’s Day celebrates what the day means to their women in academia and beyond.


8. More #BeBoldForChange campaigns coming soon

We’ll be highlighting how further groups are calling for gender parity via exciting #BeBoldForChange campaigns, as well as how they’re celebrating International Women’s Day.

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