Spring is time for all true Andalusians to leave their cocoons, pack their car boots to overflowing and head for the hills – and beaches.
There’s a special name for these people. It comes from “Domingo”, the Spanish word for Sunday. The Dominguero, therefore, is the person who every Sunday faithfully goes... no, not to Mass, but on a picnic, of course!
And what a picnic it is! This is no “bite to eat” with a bit of sunshine and a stroll. No, this is the picnic of a lifetime – only it happens every week until after the summer holidays – an all day affair involving large groups of friends or several generations of family members. A blanket would never suffice; this calls for setting up camp with deck chairs, portable tables, beach umbrellas, possibly even a canopy – and don’t forget the small inflatable swimming pool for the babies, if you’re going to the beach.
Clearly, to be a Dominguero in Andalucia, the main requirement is a car boot of generous dimensions. And this is why Domingueros are not usually found off the beaten path, but in fact seem to even prefer the side of a busy motorway or next to the parking area at a crowded beach (crowded because everyone shares the need to set up “camp” as close to their vehicles as physically possible).
I’ve spoken with more than one dedicated Dominguero in order to compile a list of genuine necessities for those wishing to join the fun. What I found, however, was a variety of lists ranging from the “single person in a group of friends Dominguero” to the “large clan including many generations Dominguero”. And those lists have variations like “Dominguero in the countryside” and “Dominguero at the beach” and even the “posh Dominguero”.
The posh Dominguero is by far the most practical. This is the one who refuses to plan ahead and loathes getting up early on a Sunday morning just to pack a picnic. She heads out with little gear and eats at a “Chiringuito” at the beach or a roadside “venta” in the countryside. Very simple.
Not so for the large clan that must rise early to pack everyone from great grandmother to the newest born member for a day at the beach. Fortunately, this group needs many vehicles to cart everyone to the coast - because they'll need many a car boot to haul the furnishings and food necessary to stock this all day camp out - especially if they plan to make a paella, for example!
But really, anyone can join the Dominguero movement – even you. All you really need is a chosen direction and some idea regarding where you might end up and how far you wish to venture off the beaten path. From there, it will be easy to decide how many of your earthly belongings you wish to lug with you.
The idea, after all, is simply to ditch that winter cocoon and get out into the fresh air and sunshine and enjoy good food with a large entourage of fellow Domingueros.