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Thursday, March 13, 2014 (read 2125 times)

Father's Day in Spain

by Matthew

Saint Joseph's Day

Father’s day in Spain is celebrated annually on March 19th. It is also the same day as the Feast of Saint Joseph, otherwise known as St Joseph’s Day (San José in Spain), a hugely significant Christian celebration that has the status of being a “solemnity” in the Catholic Church.  March 19th has been the allocated day for these festivities in many Western calendars since the 10th century.

Joseph is a hugely important figure on the authority of the New Testament. According to Christian teachings, the Virgin Mary was engaged to Joseph when she became pregnant through divine intervention, he proceeded to get married to Mary and assisted and supported her with the upbringing of Jesus Christ. Because of this, he is regarded as an extremely significant father figure in the world of Christianity, and it is for this reason, father’s day takes place during the same day as that of St Joseph.

There are a number of different ways in which the 19th March is celebrated in Spain, and people do different things depending on which part of the country they live. Many people go to church to partake in special services held to honor and pay tribute to St Joseph’s life. A lot of people will also make a big effort to visit their own father, often going out to restaurants or other celebratory venues and giving them gifts, as a display of gratitude and affection for the roles that their fathers’ played in their childhood.

Las Fallas de Valencia

The Spanish holiday is also known for the “Fallas de San Jose”, that marks one of the most important Spanish festivals that takes place in the autonomous community of Valencia, and in particular the capital of the region with the same name. People descend on the streets of the city for an incredibly lively and vibrant party that lasts 5 days and 5 nights. A lot of people sport traditional clothing from the Valencian region which for men includes decorative waistcoats and shirts and shawls that are hand woven and for women wide, long dresses composed of richly colored materials alongside knitted shawls and different types of jewelry. This unique clothing is often on show during the multitude of parades in the city.

The origins of the festival are directly linked to the life of St Joseph, who worked as a carpenter. Throughout the Middle Ages, carpenters used “Parots” whilst they were working, this is a plank of wood that was essential to support the candles that were needed to provide light during the dark, cold winter months. When the hard winter finally came to an end, these “parots” would be burnt as a mark of celebration. Over the course of time, individuals started dressing these planks of wood with clothing and equating them with well-known personalities. These small “Parots” eventually evolved into enormous “Ninots”, large structures consisting of a number of products including Styrofoam, cardboard, papier mache and cardboard, which are burnt as part of the modern day celebration of the festival. The authorities wanted to keep this potentially dangerous festival safe and controlled, to this end, it was revised to being a celebration of St. Joseph, who is the patron saint of carpenters.

Keywords: father’s day,saint joseph,st joseph,spanish holidays,las fallas,st joseph’s day,spanish festivals,san jose spain

Posted In: Spain


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