Category Archives: B
Belén is the Spanish equivalent of Bethlehem.
If you visit a typical Spanish household at this time of year, you are likely to find a Belén, or a nacimiento (literally, birth). This is mainly a representation of the birth of Jesus and always includes baby Jesus in his manger, Joseph and the Virgin, an ox and and a donkey and sometimes, the Angel. The full version will depict the whole town of Bethlehem, with its shepherds and townspeople, its animals and landscapes. Away from the stable, you will see the Three Wise Men on their camels, on their way to see the Baby Jesus. As the 6th January approaches (Twelfth Night, when the 3 Wise Men finally arrived in Bethlehem), the figures will be moved nearer to the stable.
My uncle used to set up a really big, traditional Belén, but this year they’ve gone for a mega-mix of styles, which you can see below.
If you are visiting Spain this time of year, make sure you look for the town’s Belén or the different Belenes around the city. Some of them are beautiful works of art.
With thanks to Kevin for the pictures and to my Tíos for hosting New Year’s Day once more!
I’ve never really followed sports much – well, maybe the odd championship or two. I never had any interest in golf, but I grew up hearing the name Ballesteros over and over again, mainly associated with sportsmanship, perseverance and dedication.
I never had any personal connection with the man. I never had any emotional connection with the game of golf. Yet reading about his death as I researched this post still brings tears to my eyes.
Seve, as he was known, didn’t learn to play golf in the comfort of a golf course, but on the beach, a fact that many think was key to his success. Only every now and then, at night time, when there was a full moon, would he sneak into the golf course next to his house in Pedreña (Cantabria, in the North of Spain).
At 16, he took part in his first professional national championship (Campeonato de España) and came 20th. Two years later, he came second in the British Open, alongside Jack Nicklaus.
Ballesteros rapidly became well known and respected in international circles. Tom Kites said of him:
When he gets going, it’s almost as if Seve is driving a Ferrari and the rest of us are in Chevrolets.
He was the first European player to win the Masters in 1980 at the age of 23 – and the youngest player to win the title at that time.
During his lifetime, Seve won 87 championships but his greatest achievement was to put European golf up there with its American counterpart. It was under his leadership that the European team won the Ryder Cup in 1997. The public’s adoration of the man only grew as, unable to play himself due to his status of home ground captain, he passionately rode alongside the team in a golf cart, encouraging the rest of the team.
In 2008, Ballesteros was diagnosed with a brain tumour, after which he set up the Fundación Seve Ballesteros, dedicated to promoting and financing brain cancer research.
On 7th May 2011, after numerous operations and chemotherapy, Seve died at the age of 54, becoming a legendary figure representing hard work, sportsmanship and decency.
To find out more about Severiano Ballesteros and his foundation, visit his official web.
“Bodorrio” is one of the colloquial ways for “Boda” – wedding.
It refers to a big wedding – although big in Spain usually means lots of food!!!!! There are not many traditions that take place in Spanish weddings, making the reception more like a big party. First course (primer plato); second course (segundo plato); dessert; cake; coffee etc In addition to all the “aperitivos” you will get before the meal. And then usually, a free bar and lots of dancing until well into the night (4 – 6pm).
I do like Spanish weddings, although I think they have become something of a “commercial transaction”. Before I elaborate on this, let me share with you something I read today that prompted me to write this post.
If you are invited to a dinner party, you can bring a gift – flowers, wine, or whatever counts as a friendly gesture. If instead, you leave $100 on the table at the end of the meal, you will destroy the atmosphere because you have turned a social interaction into a commercial exchange.
(Harvard Business Review article “The Unselfish Gene” July/Aug 2011 Fayard & Weeks)
If any of you have ever received a wedding invitation with an account number inside it, you will know what I mean.
Wedding lists are still tradition in Spain, but as couples marry later on in life and already have their 8 piece set of eggholders, their dishwasher and flat TV in place, what use is a Wedding List for them? Much better just to get the cash! So if you are invited to a Spanish wedding, be ready to dish out 100 EURO per head.
Or, if like me, you still prefer to keep this a social occasion, you can choose to ignore all social conventions and give them a personal gift! I haven’t been spat at yet (neither literally nor metaphorically) – at least not to my face.
Do leave your favourite/hated Spanish (or other) wedding traditions here, if you wish. And be ready to shout:
¡¡¡¡VIVAN LOS NOVIOS!!!!
To incite the rest of the guests to shout: