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Cultural Snapshot: Springtime in Spain

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By Pablo,* RMM worker in Spain

Life goes on. A new month has brought the newness of Spring in its splendor. May 1 is a holiday, here, and was followed by Granada’s Day of the May Crosses. This day is celebrated by decorating crosses with red carnations, each cross surrounded by antiques and objects of bygone days. The 80 crosses registered for judging are placed in private patios or public plazas and people, some of them dressed in flamenco and old-style costumes, go around visiting them. A type of music and dance, the “Sevillana,” is popular at these fiestas, along with plenty of drink, to be sure, and horses and carriages in the streets.

The cross, of course, is an important symbol in the majority religion here, but it really has little to do with the party atmosphere of this fiesta nowadays. But as was pointed out at the English service on Sunday, covering the empty cross with flowers is a welcome break from last month’s Holy Week processions, where the cross is a symbol of suffering. Suffering and grace – what an amazing combination!

Another new event, held in Barcelona over the weekend, was the Festival of Hope (Esperanza), which forms the acronym FE (“faith” in Spanish). Organized by the Evangelicals in Catalunya, along with the Billy Graham Association by all reports this was a resounding success, with over 20,000 in attendance and 1,700 registered professions of faith. Heartening to see, and perhaps a sign of more “new” things to come in Spain? We hope so!

On a more personal level, Judi attended a gospel music seminar over the weekend and learned more about gospel music and why it connects with Spain and Spanish people. Maybe it gives more purpose to participating in our little gospel choir, of which we are the only believers, as far as we know. Truth is at least proclaimed. If even the stones can cry out, anything is possible! Last night we worked on “Well, Well, Well,” which includes the phrase: “Spirit is a-movin’ all over this land.” May it be so! After the rehearsal, one member shared that in all his years of singing in choirs (he currently sings in three), he’s never had so much fun singing as in this gospel choir. Hmm… Is the Father trying to say something to us?

*Last name omitted for security