Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Eve in our neighborhood

So there is this local legend about a guy, Olentzero, who comes down from the mountains at Christmas time. the legend is kind of fuzzy. there seems to be confusion (even among the old timers here in Pamplona) about who exactly he was and what exactly he did. No one lets that keep them from making good parade out if it all, though, so this Christmas Eve, we all bundled up to track down Olentzero as he paraded through our city streets.
I made up this little chart, as I thought it might help you and I to understand Olentzero just a bit better, comparing and contrasting him to someone we know . . .

Santa: Spends his year heading up the toy productions with his lovely little Mrs. and the elves
Olentzero: spends his year mining coal and living the life of a recluse in his mountain cabin

Santa: travels from the North Pole on Christmas Eve
Olentzero: makes his trip down from the mountains . . . also on the night of the 24th

Santa: is accompanied by his reindeer . . . and maybe an elf or two.
Olentzero: is joined by a herd of sheep, a couple of oxen, a chestnut roaster, and a whole slew of accordion players. (and some Basque protesters, demanding more humane treatment for those who they feel have been unjustly arrested by the Spanish government for supposed involvement in terrorist activities)Santa: eats cookies put out for him
Olentzero: passes out bread and goat cheese, and roasted chestnuts (look, here is the cart that holds the chestnut roaster. all we had to do was run up behind it and put out our hands, and we would get chestnuts!)
Santa: has rosy cheeks (I suspect from the North Pole chill)
Olentzero: has rosy cheeks (I suspect from one too many bottles of wine - - it's what the stories tell us, anyway!)


Gabrielle said...

a fun time was had by all, I'm sure. Amaleah broke it to a retail clerk the other day that "Santa is not real. Absolutely not. Nothing true about it. Why would you believe in him if he isn't real?" hmmm..

darcie said...

this is such an interesting post-and I would run behind that chestnut roaster (very fast) and then beg more than one warm, sweet chestnut. . .