Tuesday, 11 December 2012
"The Distaff of the Spinster in the Douro District, North of Portugal"
"The spindle and the distaff are still employed here for producing the best linen threads used in the beautiful laces for which Portugal is famed. Woollen yarn for the family clothing is also spun by this primitive method. Rustic life in Portugal is not a dull, (dreary?) grind, for each epoch of the farming year is celebrated with a festa, and of fairs and such gatherings there is no end."
My comment: To this day we have many local fairs and popular gatherings. Summer here are the months of July, August and September, and each Village helds a party of some sort. Probably not so picturesque and rustic as the good old days, but including a Catholic Parade, lots of indescribable music (often with hot lyrics and very basic tunes), and places to eat our version of take away "fast food" that is cooked -grilled, fried or baked- almost on demand. Lately, the theme parties are being very popular, like the Chocolate Weekend or the Medieval Fairs. The food annual fairs, with local produce are always a must, as we are a country of very diversified gastronomy. We are also great consumers of music, and the good bands come here often to play at week long festivals. We also love fireworks, and the amusement arcades travel from place to place all summer long.
I am telling all the various aspects of our "festas" as they survive today, but in the old 1919 days, life was much harder, and it seems that the National Geographic caption-wording might be a bit romanticised.
(I must state here that my grand-father, born in 1911 was a party lover, and brought me to local fairs and picnics as a young person...and spent Saturdays with his people socialising...playing ancient games and generally being in the open-air having a relaxation - and eating the picnic that grandma had prepared the previous day!!!!!).