|Student experiences life in Spain
Sophomore Kat Farris of Louisville, Ky., chronicles her trip to Spain during CentreTerm for SPA 260 Cultures of Spain: The Politics of Regionalism, taught by Phyllis Bellver, assistant professor of Spanish at Centre.
RELEASED: Feb. 24, 2005
DANVILLE, KYUnlike in the United States, residents in Spain actively celebrate the Christmas holiday for two weeks. On our first evening in Spain on January 5, we had the opportunity to witness the Spanish Christmas parade. That night they were celebrating the Three Kings symbols of gift-giving.
We watched crowds of young children with their parents spill into the streets of Madrid, as the parade of the Three Kings marched in a beautiful, extravagant procession of commercial floats and live animals. This spectacle was unique and mystifying to me, an inexperienced traveler. Ive never seen streets so packed with people. You couldnt move as spectators pressed their way to the front so they could see the floats and retrieve candy tossed into the crowd. The old celebrated with the young in this joyous event that seemed to make the meaning of Christmas more personal to home than the often detached observations in America.
As we continued on our trip, I was most fascinated by the people. The Spaniards enjoy a slower and more relaxed pace of life. Youll always find people strolling along the streets, stopping for casual conversations and window-shopping. No one is in a rush like you would observe in most American cities. It wasnt uncommon for Spaniards to have unleashed dogs or baby strollers as they strolled. I also noticed that people were more affectionate toward one another, constantly walking arm-in-arm. It was refreshing and new to see the locals in the countrys capital not disconnected in their own worlds on cell phones.
Everyone was active; the elderly and the children were outside all throughout the day and even late into the night.
As was forshadowed on the first evening with the exciting festivities of Christmas, Spain delivered on its promise of a country rich with excitement and vibrant life. Spain may superficially seem to have similar qualities found in the Western world, but it maintains a very unique ambiance that can only be truly understood through firsthand experience.
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