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May We Be Seven Billion

Candles

I run a professional website, and every time I send out a newsletter against terrorism I get a few unsubscribes. Maybe these ex-subscribers simply wanted to only receive newsletters strictly related to the theme of the website.

Or maybe it’s just coincidence. Although I very rarely get unsubscribes on newsletters with new articles related to the theme of the website haha.

But at any rate, I also feel that, even if perhaps it’s not the safest way to live, we still have to take a stand about things in the world, and stick to our guns about whatever stand we’ve chosen. And not shut up about it.

Someone – I don’t remember who but perhaps it was Winston Churchill? – once said that the only thing that is needed for evil to triumph is if a few good men stand by and do nothing.

I DO believe in peace, and in striving for peace. But I’m also one of those who believes that in the world that we live in, sometimes we have to fight to get that peace. Sitting around and praying alone is not enough (although, of course, it’s also necessary and helps a lot hehe).

On a different subject, I’m very excited because soon I’m about to reveal some news which is very very exciting (at least for ME haha). So stay tuned for that!

So, as I said at the beginning of this post, may we be over seven billion to spread the light of good and peace, kindness, respect and above all, tolerance, around the world and fight back the evil of terrorism.

And also Happy Chanukah!

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Christmas Eve Musings

Can you believe it’s Christmas Eve and unlike the rest of the country, I am not:

  • munching on apéritifs with my kids
  • chatting with relatives that I only see once a year (who don’t exist anyways…… maybe imaginary relatives haha?)
  • sitting near a fireplace singing Christmas carols
  • sitting around a Christmas tree playing the zambomba

(pic of zambomba, a traditional Christmas instrument round here to mark the rhythm while singing Christmas carols)

Zambomba

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

  • out on the street setting off firecrackers (I hate firecrackers!)
  • cooking
  • cleaning the kitchen
  • washing the dishes

I am just lying around the house with my kids, surfing the net while my kids play together. And that’s wonderful.

I think of all those countless endless afternoons when I am not lying around the house surfing the net while my kids play together, because I am working.

I think of all those countless endless afternoons where my kids are not playing at all, because they have homework.

I think of all those countless endless afternoons where my kids are not together, because my youngest son stays with his father when I work.

So I dunno if our Christmas Eve is boring, by other people’s standards. And maybe I would’ve liked to have a bit more pizzazz in our festivity hehe.

But it’s okay. Christmas Eve is about being with family. And even though I live with my family (my kids), the three of us are rarely together, except late at night after work.

And right now we are together.

Just wish we could be together ALL THE TIME haha!

Well, I have been seeing lots of blogs wishing readers a Merry Christmas and happy holidays today. So whatever holiday you celebrate, I would like to wish you a happy one too.

Happy Holidays!

Butterfly

May your world always be borne…… on the wings of a butterfly……

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Hot Hot Hot!

Christmas Lights in Malaga

 

I’ve noticed that everywhere, people are posting photos of the Christmas lights where they live on their blogs. So I thought, why not do the same? When you come right down to it, the Christmas lights of Malaga are definitely worth it!

Christmas Lights Malaga

This year they had a Gothic cathedral theme.

I also took a photo from underneath the “Gothic arch”.

Christmas Lights Malaga

As you can see, the throngs of crowds admiring the Christmas lights were immense.

Of course, Christmas lights weren’t the only thing that there was to admire on the busy streets of Malaga.

There were a myriad of shows being put on by street entertainers from large groups to single artists. One very large gathering was formed of a group of about six musicians playing Christmas carols on the trumpet, clarinet and other brass instruments, plus three guys dressed up as the Three Kings of Orient to liven up the crowd. However, I couldn’t see them very well, because there was a mass of people around them, enjoying their music. Which wasn’t surprising, because their music was incredible.

Christmas Lights Malaga

But since I couldn’t photograph them because there were too many people, I went to quieter corners.

Christmas Lights Malaga

Christmas Lights Malaga

A young girl was selling these little cottages by a fountain for people to use for making their own personal “belenes”, or Nativity scenes.

Christmas Lights Malaga

What stroll would be complete without a photo of my kids? This is my son in front of the Christmas tree in la Plaza de la Constitución, Malaga’s main square.

Christmas Lights Malaga

I LOVE CHRISTMAS WITHOUT SNOW!!!

When I was a child it was the only thing I dreamt of for Christmas: a Christmas without snow. Of course, living in Canada, that was absolutely impossible.

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Holy Week in Malaga

The Sounds of Holy Week

I’m sure that by now, especially if you are a “Spain-o-phile” lol, you must have seen dozens of photos of the Holy Week processions (and much better than the ones I’m going to post here!). But have you HEARD what Holy Week sounds like here in Spain?

So here I am posting a couple of recordings that I made of the music that they play. Just stare at the photos, imagine a cool night breeze brushing gently against your face (it was a warm night though, 22 degrees), listen to the sounds of Holy Week and pretend that you are surrounded by crowds of devotees and you can even transport yourself there and experience a Holy Week procession for yourself!

Well I couldn’t upload any music so I made a video instead! I invite you to check it out here (I put it in my son’s channel cuz I haven’t got one, in case you’re wondering about the name, oooh I’m so behind the times……):

or here, if the above link doesn’t work:

http://youtu.be/UZrqljbkEos

And while we’re at it, I put up a new demo too on MySpace, I invite you to check it out here:

Medley from Serena Amadis on Myspace.

or here, if the above link doesn’t work:

https://myspace.com/120763532/music/songs

Well that is pretty much all we have been up to these days!

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Holy Week in Malaga

I wasn’t going to put up a post on Holy Week, but we went to see processions and they were so beautiful, I just had to take some photos even though I hadn’t brought the camera along. But I’ve got a mobile phone, even though it doesn’t take such nice photos as the camera.

Cross

On Holy Thursday, the city is filled with processions running up and down all over the place. You can do like what we started to do, which was “procession hopping”, jumping about from one procession to another to see all the different religious statues, or tronos.

However we soon got tired of that activity, and just decided to situate ourselves next to the Alameda, the main thoroughfare in Malaga, because all the processions pass down that way at some point.

Penitents

These people carrying a glittering cross and wearing “cone hats” are penitents.

Trono de virgen

There’s a lot of religious fervour and excitement during Holy Week processions. Even people who haven’t entered into a church for the past fifty years feel awe-struck.

Spectators also applaud the brave and strong men who bear the tronos as they pass by. Each trono-bearer is carrying about 20 kg. on his shoulder. This is very exhausting work and they deserve all that applause, encouragement and confetti!

Niños aburridosHowever, the ones who would probably rather be sitting at home playing with their Nintendo or Gamebox are…… the kiddies. Here are some who are clearly bored out of their minds. But fortunately, today we have portable electronic apparatuses to play with.

Rows of Penitents

My son was quite fascinated by the penitents. He told me that he wanted me to fashion him a cone-shaped hat covered with velvet to wear around the house, and a huge gilded staff like the ones that the penitents carry.

My son’s cousin, a hale and hearty teenager, decided to participate in a procession this year bearing a trono. This wasn’t due to any religious zeal. He just wanted to know what it felt like. He ended up all ground up and declared that he was never going to do this again.

A little boy by our side apparently also had his father carrying a trono. As the statue paraded past us, the little kid just wouldn’t stop screaming at his dad to look at him.

Given the number of processions taking place each year, and the number of men required to make them happen, most of the inhabitants of Malaga probably know someone personally who is bearing a trono.

Another cross

Religion is a pretty important theme during Holy Week, of course – but so is partying! Everywhere we went, it seemed more like a carnival or a fair rather than a supposedly sombre religious event commemorating a rather tragic occurrence. There were people at stands selling everything from hot dogs and hamburgers to donuts and home-grown lemons.

Papas asadas

I think the line-ups to get baked potatoes stuffed with delicious hot filling were just as long as the ones to see a trono pass by.

Apparently, on Holy Thursday all of the processions consist of two tronos coming out of every church that participates. The first trono is always a statue of a cross, Jesus Christ or Jesus Christ on a cross. He is always followed by a statue of his mother, the Virgin Mary. Because if they were carting your son off to hang him, wouldn’t you go running after him too?

Cristo en la cruz

Well, I took a few more photos but I got so tired editing them, and besides which, they were all pretty much more of the same, and not such good quality anyways (after all, I do not have an iPhone!). In the end, what caught my fancy was this large tree with its roots hanging off of the high branches.

Tree Roots Hanging From Tree

I have no idea what this tree is called though. You can see the full moon shining beside it.

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Preparing for Holy Week

I’d been getting this post ready for the past week or so, and then I realized that I’d better get it up soon or as they say in Spanish, “se me iba a pasar el arroz”. Which just simply means something like, the right time is about to pass you by.

Sentencia

Sorry for the rather iffy quality of the photos, I took them all with the mobile phone, just little reminders posted everywhere as I walked about town, about the imminence of Holy Week and its numerous processions (procesiones de Semana Santa).

Semana Santa Malaga

People get really excited about Holy Week processions around here. Even very young people (like teenagers), whom you would expect would be more into fashion or clubbing than religion, show tremendous zeal and anticipation. And several young men that I know with big, strong shoulders can talk about nothing else for weeks except the “trono” that they are planning to bear around the city.

Cristo Triston

As you can see, everyone gets in on the act, and even the owners of convenience stores have Holy Week posters up.

Because, of course, all of those heavy “tronos”, or religious statues, that you will see marching around during Holy Week, are borne solely by the shoulders and feet of the “trono-bearers”. Each procession lasts for several kilometres, so you can imagine the exhaustion that these people face. But they are very proud of what they do and even compete with each other for the privilege of bearing a trono around town.

Encierralo

This is a poster with a play on words. It’s urging people to shut their cars up at home during Holy Week and come to see the processions by bus, in order not to clog up the frenetic traffic downtown. However, it’s also playing on the term “encierro”. Encierro means to shut something up, like your car in the garage, but an encierro is also when the procession is finished and the trono is brought to rest in its “home” in the church that it belongs to.

There was one other scene that I wanted to capture on film (well, digital film, nowadays), a religious scene that was set up in a shop window, but whenever I passed by the lighting was never right. Either it was too bright and everything was reflecting in the window, covering up the scene underneath the pane, or it was night-time and too dark. If I ever manage to pass by at just the right moment, I’ll flash a pic of it and post it up here too.

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Pa Amb Tomàquet

Oops, that’s not quite right, wrong Community, I think. I meant: pan con aceite!

Andalucia Flag

Next week is the Day of Andalucía, which commemorates the date when Andalucía won the status of Autonomous Community within the country of Spain.

People get patriotic and hang out flags, and in the schools they set up little plays (which unfortunately we parents won’t be privy to observing). My son’s got a role in the play his class has mounted up at his high school: he’s going to open the curtains at the start of the show and close them when it ends. (He hates acting!)

His little brother cracked up when “Hermenegildo” proudly announced his important assignment. But I explained that it’s very important that someone open the curtains too, because if no one does that, then the show can’t go on!

What the kids love most about the Day of Andalucía, however, is pan con aceite!

Pan con aceite

Yes, the schools regale them with a typical Andalusian breakfast: rustic bread dunked in pools and pools of fresh virgin olive oil.

Too bad this wonderful meal is also accompanied by homework assignments for spring break (okay, winter break, since I guess technically it’s still winter……).

Thought I’d close this post with a flash of almond blossoms. Living in da inna big city isn’t the hottest thing, but occasionally, we get a real treat from Mother Nature too.

Almond Tree

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