Look who I found in the garden!
Voting for took place yesterday (22nd May) in the UK for both local and European elections, but we have to wait until Sunday 25th May before election day arrives in Spain.
Thanks to the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, I am entitled to suffrage (the right to cast my vote) as an EU citizen (UK expat) living in Spain, in both the local and European elections provided that:
- My name is included on the official Town Hall Register (Padrón Municipal), and
- I have indicated my desire to be included on the electoral roll
As I have done both of these things, my census card (Tarjeta Censal) has duly arrived through the post confirming my municipality, and informing me of where my polling station will be (Cómpeta Town Hall).
On election day, I will need to take along my photo ID (passport or driving licence) as proof of identity and my census card to cast my vote.
Providing a person is registered on the Padrón and the Census, then they will still be entitled to vote even if they have not received their census card through the post, though it might be best to check with the Town Hall where their Polling Station will be.
Unlike the system in the UK where voters place a cross (X) next to the name of the person they wish to vote for – here in Spain it is the party for whom you cast your vote. Each political party will have already chosen their list of candidates who will represent them, and these lists can be found inside the voting booths.
All I will need to do is pick up the paper listing the candidates for the party I choose, place that list into an envelope, take it to the official at the electoral table, prove my ID and then slot the envelope into the ballot box.
In the Spanish voting system not only are you are not required to mark an X against the name of the person/party you wish to vote for, but if you do mark the paper, your vote would be spoiled.
On Sunday, the people of Spain will be voting for 54 MEPs. Polling booths are usually open from 9am – 8pm (but times may vary).
The list of parties that you can vote for in Andalucía can be found here.
Have YOU voted in Spain? Is the system different where you live?
From today until April 20th, one of the biggest festivals of the year in Spain is upon us – Semana Santa (Holy Week).
Andalucía is well known for the many huge processions taking place each day (and throughout the night), particularly in the cities of Seville and Málaga.
But in even the smallest of white villages throughout La Axarquía, evidence of devotion and penitence can be seen, as religious effigies are squeezed through the often steep, narrow streets.
The images are very powerful as the life-sized religious figures set onto ornate tronos (floats or thrones) sway in time to the slow thud of the drums marking their beat.
The colourfully-robed, hooded penitents of the various Brotherhoods make their way through the streets accompanied by the solemn wail of the trumpets of the local municipal band.
Semana Santa is a festival to be perceived through all the senses.
You can almost taste the overpowering aroma of incense and flowers filling the air as the processions pass by. No matter the time of day or night, villagers will congregate on street corners, steps, or hang over their balconies to see and sometimes applaud or cry out to their favourite tronos, often reaching out to touch the display as it mesmerisingly sways past them.
Make no mistake, you don’t need to be a religious person to be deeply moved or feel the passion of Semana Santa.
After all – THIS IS SPAIN!
EDITED TO ADD: After I posted the video yesterday of the Semana Santa processions in Malaga, I was reminded by Gilly, Cristina and Gemma‘s comments to tell you about the hoods that are worn (some conical and some not). It IS important to know the origin. Thanks ladies :)
A common feature of Semana Santa is the Nazareno or penitential robe for some of the participants in the processions.
This garment consists in a tunic, a hood with conical tip (known as a capirote) used to conceal the face of the wearer, and sometimes a cloak. The exact colours and forms of these robes depend on the particular procession.
The robes were widely used in medieval times for penitents, who could demonstrate their penance while still masking their identity.
Sadly, even though these robes and hoods have been used for hundreds of years in this way, they were “hi-jacked” by the Klu Klux Klan in the late 1860s – for which they are more “well-known” outside of Spain.
More’s the pity.
I’ve only ever seen a dung beetle on TV in a wildlife documentary programme.
Imagine my surprise when I saw this little chap, rolling his ball of poop in my garden, last Sunday afternoon!
The moral of this tale? If you’re having a bad day, just remember – you are not this dung beetle with sh** all over your head!
If you’ve never seen a dung beetle doing what dung beetles do – here’s a YouTube video for you.
What’s the most curious thing you’ve seen recently?