Last week I snapped a Scandinavian blonde Maria in Vilafranca del Penedès. Joan Amades (El pessebre (1959)) tells us that, in Catalan nativity scenes, the Mother of God was always represented by a young, very white girl with hyper-perfect features, and that her whiteness is both traditional and proverbial (“white as a Mother of God”). He then quotes the song, Baixeu pastor:
Descend, shepherds, from those hills
Descend in haste to adore the Infant.
When you see him inside the stable
Look at his face, like a diamond.
His mother is called Marieta
And is white, white as the sun.
She is very happy and very delicate
Married to an old man who is her counsel.
In another place Amades notes that “tradition has it that the sun came out at the instant of Jesus’ arrival on earth” which, linked with the naming of Midnight Mass here (Misa del Gallo, Rooster Mass), makes it fairly easy to conjecture that our cockerel is announcing a Christianised version of a sun god, rising after the winter solstice.
Why, though, is Mary blonde? Because Aphrodite was said to be blonde? Because Visigoths looked back to a blonde übermother way back east, and the church was subsequently too busy with other things to give her a black rinse? Getting even vaguer, was Violant (follow-up) also blonde?
- Yet another (2D) pessebre
In Plaça Jaume I in Vilafranca del Penedès, with the Three Kings creeping up on a haute blonde Mary:
- Catalan hunter-king meets Hungarian stag-princess
In which I suggest that a Catalan folksong about a Hungarian princess also touches on the latter country’s foundation myth.
- More drunken shepherds
A brief take on els pastorets.
- When did you born? Birth, agency and Whorfian politicology
Wine-buff Víctor de la Serna (via Carlos Ferrero) has nailed Domecq Bodegas for an amusing slip on the otherwise impeccable site, “When did you born?” I haven’t really looked for literary or scientific evidence, and I’m pretty ignorant of non-me dialectal forms, but I’d hazard that this form is actually quite common among some groups of …