Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Let Them Eat Sweets!!! Sant Medir 2012

In Spain (I can't vouch for all of Europe), it's traditional that holidays are celebrated on their actual day rather than an observed day like Monday or Friday as we do in the States.  Because of this we often find ourselves with a holiday in the middle of the week (and depending on the significance of the holiday many companies will give bridges so you only work part of that week instead of just having a day off in the middle). 

The past few years, the Sant Medir festival was held during the week, but this year we were lucky enough that it was on a Saturday.  Lucky...and not so lucky actually.  It was really nice because both the boys and Josh got to enjoy the daytime festivities which until this weekend only Liam and I had seen (Liam the year that we moved here before he started school).  Aidan and I were in the grocery store when we heard the parade starting up, so we raced home just in time to see the horses coming down our street and the parade beginning.

He could not contain his excitement and so I let him go on ahead of me.  And no, I don't have a problem with that in the city even though he's only 7.  Children here are so much more independent and not to mention it was within a block of our apartment, if he can't navigate the street by our apartment on his own after 2 years, then I have other reasons to be concerned!! 

Aidan standing in front of our apartment where the horses are all lined up...he's never gotten to see this so he was very excited!

Horse and buggy in front of the grocery store on our corner

Getting ready to start

So of course we made it home and Aidan rushed in to get Liam who was a bit stunned trying to find and put on his sneakers (an achievement in and of itself these days).  I couldn't remember what time the parade started in the morning and wasn't really expecting it to start before 10 so felt badly for the rush.  Poor Josh was left semi-behind because he had just gotten out of the shower. 

The parade was making it's way back down our street so the kids lined up on the sidewalk ready to start catching their stash of candy for the day.  They both had tote bags ready to be filled!!  I got video of this first candy-catching but unfortunately I seemed to have had the camera on zoom, so sorry in advance for the extra close ups... but you'll still see the boys' excitment!

Some of the candy after the parade went by our apartment

After the parade went by our apartment the boys rushed inside to get their scooters/bikes so that we could then follow the parade all around Gracia.  In the end, they were so excited that we let them skip their tennis lessons so they could have fun running around picking up candy - I can't say I blame them, I'd want to do them same if I were their age!
Aidan ready to go get more candy
Liam's bike even has a basket for all the candy - how handy!
Watching the parade going down Travessera de Gracia
Running to catch more candy - the kids all yell "aqui, aqui" (here, here)

I don't know if Liam had forgotten how much fun he has at this parade, but he was super excited.  He even did what he called his candy dance for us.  To watch it, click here:  As you can see, while they were wearing their bike helmets for riding safety, they also come in handy to avoid getting bonked in the head with hard candy!
The parade going back around our block
Liam showing us his candy dance again
Liam is thrilled with getting a "sucker" as he calls it

Aidan chasing the parade thru Gracia

Waiting on yet another street corner

With yet more candy in his mouth - I think he ate his weight in candy

A tiny bit of the aftermath - the streets were covered in candy, most of it run over by cars, etc - Josh described it perfectly, it felt like walking on velcro as your feet stuck to the pavement with each step.

We spent about an hour following the various parades thru Gracia.  Eventually the kids got bored with the process and so we headed up for a family trip to the American store.  What normally takes me about 40 minutes to walk to, took well over an hour with the kids who then also had their sugar meltdowns.  Pretty as you can imagine... But on our way up to the store we saw more and more parades going through Gracia and it was a really festive way to start the morning.

The big parade is at night and this is the only parade Josh and Aidan had been to before that morning.  It's down on Gran de Gracia which is close to a mile walk for us.  I had asked Aidan during the early evening if he still wanted to go since he'd done the daytime parade and he was at first unsure if he wanted to leave the comfort of the couch given the several miles of walking he had already done during the course of the day.  In the end, they voted that yes, they wanted to go.

So off we went to Gran de Gracia.  The plus of the festival being on the weekend was that Josh and Aidan got to see the daytime parade.  The minus was that the evening parade was PACKED!  I normally get there way too early with the boys and we end up standing around for a good hour.  This year I decided to take a more "spanish" approach and leave a little closer to the start of the parade.  I don't think it would have mattered either way because even those who had key spots along the sidewalk were squished!  It was just insanely crowded. 

Liam found a space on the sidewalk near some kids his age.

 I think he managed to get 4 pieces of candy and despite the look on his face,  he was less than thrilled

The crowds drove Aidan insane and he caught hardly any candy.  Not fun!

The batucada - my favorite part of any festival!

Some of the many horses we saw

Dividing up the 6 pieces of candy caught

In the end, we stayed about 15 minutes, significantly less time compared to previous years.  But since the boys caught tons of candy during the day, they decided they'd had enough of the crowds pushing them around and were ready to head  home.  All in all, another great day in our neighborhood!!!


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