Dia de Todos los Santos - a strange tradition in Cadiz

Today, 1 November, is Dia de Todos los Santos - All Saints' Day. It's the day after Halloween, when all the ghouls come out; today is when the Spanish remember their dead, all the more significant when so many died during 40 years of dictatorship. They buy their "Huesos de Santos" pastries, go to the cemeteries, clean their family graves and adorn them with flowers (it's the biggest day of the year for florists). If you've seen the extraordinary film Volver, directed by Pedro Almodovar and starring Penelope Cruz, the first scene takes place on this most important day of the Spanish fiesta calendar. It's a personal day; not a day for military processions or grand parades, but for reflection with your nearest and dearest. In Cadiz city, they have a different take on Tosantos. There, the main food market has a bizarre tradition. In the city famous for its anarchic carnaval and satirical songs, they make fruit, vegetables, fish and meat (largely pigs' heads, but also rabbits') into famosos or politicians. These macabre figures often have handwritten notes attached with irreverent messages about their news-worthy personages. As a non-meat-eater, I can't look at the baby jamón faces without feeling sick, but the whole idea is fascinating in a freakish way. Check out the video of this year's displays, with soundtrack of crisis-themed cuple and lots of references to La Pepa 1812, and see what you think.
Blog published on 1 November 2012