Easter? We’re at Easter already? I haven’t even had the opportunity to enjoy Christmas yet and now I’m making my debut performance as the Easter bunny?
This also means that I am roughly half way through my venture here in Spain, yes, the 8 month one. Where have four months gone? No offense Easter, I’m just not ready for you yet.
Maybe I’ve been distracted by the overload of cutting, sticking and painting I have had to do the past couple of weeks. I am slowly becoming the epitome of an Easter egg, covered in colour, melting in the sun and hollow inside where my brain used to be. But this is all in preparation for the two monstrous projects we seem to have taken on for the next month. An Easter holiday entertainment project for the youth of Sant Lluis which includes four tents of four different themes. Farmyard, under the sea, the sky and the kitchen. Imaginably, it’s been crafts galore here in the Molí. The second project which will follow on almost continuously from the first is an English Restaurant which has been proven to be a key tool in teaching the English language, this is only to be expected when food is the motivator. This will involve the kids running an entire makeshift restaurant from chefs to waiters, speaking to their customers in English and serving traditional British food. This is a project I personally can’t wait to see/taste in action.
Easter or ‘Semana Santa’, like everything, is very culturally different here in Menorca. More focused on the religious origin of the occasion, the vibrant history of the island reveals itself once again. Grand religious processions push their way through the winding streets throughout the week, the most holy of the days being Viernes Santo (Good Friday) which includes the ‘Santo Entierro’ (a group whose name translates to the ‘Holy Burial’) taking to the streets in Maó and Ciutadella. Great floats featuring carved statues resembling the last days of Christ are carried by bearers, several of whom wear time-honoured costumes of long tunics, full face masks and a pointed hood with only slits for eyes. This is to hide their identity and symbolise that only God knows who they are. The atmosphere is silent other than deep drums and an ambient brass band, it is very much a day of prayer and meditation. The Saturday is a comparatively normal day, with bells ringing out around the Island to notify us of the resurrection of Christ. But Easter Sunday is home to a extraordinarily unusual tradition which revolves around the Matances de Bujots (the killing of straw men). The ‘Bujots’, which means ‘Ragdoll’, is a derogatory word for someone lacking personality and they are figures made of straw dressed in vibrant, multi-coloured clothing and hung up around town to be the target for marksmen. They represent well-known public figures such as politicians who have been in the news recently. They are prepared secretly and then hung up on the day wearing a plaque which explains their crimes. At midday, a assembly of men gather and fire (using special made blanks) at the Bujot, they continue firing until the figure falls to the ground in flames. Although there is no clear origin of this practice, people believe that it relates to an ancient custom of marching straw dolls around the main towns and then burning them. It was considered the festive way to finish lent, purified and protected from bad luck.
Other parts of the island are more festive, gathering in the towns to sing carols of joy at the resurrection of Christ and parading with statues of Christ or the Virgin Mary.
This is what I love about living here, every single occasion reveals a new hidden past to this island and each time I can’t wait to find out more.
It’s going to be a crazy couple of weeks but who doesn’t love a bit of crazy every once in a while?
Lots of love, Lottie xoxo