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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Los Mayos

On Saturday, April 30th, the festival of Los Mayos began. Los Mayos - a festival celebrating the start of Spring - is basically a chance for locals to walk around eating and singing for a couple of days. After visiting with some locals in my pueblo, I headed off to Pedro Munoz to join Julio and the others for the main event.

We have the 30th                             I will paint your legs
of April finished                               your tiny feet
tomorrow May begins                      with many charms
beautiful and flowery.                      you are a sorceress.

Waiting we are                                 Sorceress you are
the light of the morning                   here's the lady
to see the sky open                           that (the name of the lady) is called
the sun on your face.                        from this aurora house.

Beautiful face painting                     Goodbye wallflower
a number to do                                  goodbye lily
to paint                                              farewell fleur de lis ("flower of the lily" - French royalty)          
don't bring brushes.                           goodbye beautiful rose.

Brushes or feathers                           We say goodbye
and one of yours                                but we're not leaving
you have to give to the beautiful       our hearts here we leave.
Imperial Eagle.

Imperial Eagle                                   If you are not satisfied
in sleep you rest                                 with this May you have been given
wake up if you sleep                          take the bottle... (original: "and have a drink")
and hear the couplet.                          and the Jamón serrano (cured Spanish ham)

... yeah, translating this was not easy! The singers in the video sang a different version but, if you listen real closely, you may be able to hear the crowds singing this version. By reading the lyrics you can actually get a feel for some of the major themes in Spanish festival culture: excitement, singing, community involvement, nostalgia and, maybe the most important, food!

It was a big night out with lots of chanting in the streets and eating tapas everywhere we went. Still, we got back at 3 am - which is pretty early by Spanish standards. The next day we went to a big show where dancers from all over Spain came to show off their local cultures' dancing styles. The dance styles were very lively and the clothing very colorful. It all makes for a rather entertaining atmosphere to say the least!

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