Well, we have had a very busy couple of weeks, with lovely friends from Norfolk staying with us , ( third time lucky after two cancelled trips), and a few days celebrating the much looked forward to fiesta of San Anton-the Patron Saint of Maro and also of animals ,and bizarrely `women seeking husbands`!
We had a lovely time with our friends, happy days with lots of laughter,showing off our Spanish, hot sun, chilly nights, reading by the pool, late breakfasts on the terrace of poached eggs and delicious crispy pancetta, dog walks in the village and coffee in the village bar, glorious hot pink skies, visits to the white villages of Frigiliana and Torrox Pueblo, and the best ever Calamare Entero at La Puntilla, a long lazy lunch at Bambu on the beach in La Herradura, and dinner at Papalo, a favourite spot in Nerja. We finished my Christmas cake, ate dozens of my homemade cheese straws ,and we all enjoyed my ( I have to say) stupendous seafood stew!
So a great time was had by all.
On Saturday 15th January the village celebrated San Anton. It was a day of preparation. The streets of the village are closed and piles of sand are delivered early in the morning, and put on the pavement outside of the houses who have chosen to have a bonfire. This resulted in me conducting the proceedings from our balcony wearing my nightdress! So our bonfire was loaded up with wood from the campo, and I cooked most of the day, as we had lots of friends coming to our little out of doors, eating in the street BBQ party.
There were 40 bonfires in the village including a huge one in the square, which is the last, ( and most spectacular) one to be lit.
The festival is believed to have begun in the 13th century, and was associated with the cycle of tending the olive groves. The bonfires burned twigs from pruning the trees and the old esparto baskets used for pressing the olives, still soaked in oil. The fires also had magical connotations, and were thought to drive away pests and diseases.
The atmosphere in the village on this night is always unique and such fun, lots of food and drink is shared, sweet wine in particular, and singing and dancing went on until the early hours. It’s a great Maro thing…
On Monday 17th, there was a Mass in the early evening-The TV cameras were there and Andrew and I were actually interviewed…and then after the service, the statue of San Anton was brought out of the church, bedecked in violet and white flowers. This year there wasn’t the procession through the village, but there was still the amazing sense of occasion, with all the village folk dressed up and enjoying it all. The Priest then sprinkled Holy Water and blessed your pets, so Harry, our lurcher, took part in this, ( totally unbemused).All delightful.
And then, (of course), fireworks. Huge bangs and circles of white sparkles in the square ( like enormous Catherine wheels), followed by showers of colour high above the trees.( The Civil Proteccion were on standby as is their wont). I always forget how big, how lavish, and how very loud the Spanish love their fireworks to be!
It was just great!