Sunday, July 1, 2007

Verbena Tranquila: Commentary on BCN’s Summer Solstice Celebration (Saint John’s Night)

Copied from original http://myspainblog.wordpress.com/ posting by Carloz on 26 June, 2007
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Below is my translation of a major part of an editorial in Monday’s El Periodico de Catalunya regarding Saint John’s Night (La Noche de San Juan / La Nit de Sant Joan):
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“A Tranquil Festival”
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“Another year has produced the traditional images of Saint John’s Night. In a world daily growing more globalized and lacking in references, this festival connects us to a culture, to a way of celebrating the passing of time, to the ancient rites of our civilization. Belonging to this manner of observing the shortest night are: bonfires, fireworks, fire worship, and the urge to celebrate associated with the solstice and heat.
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There are other images, too, although not always so edifying. The hangover of a night measured by kilos of trash accumulated on the beach or a few episodes of antisocial behavior do not manage to mar the natural, desirable and deserved public joy.
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Sadly, there were accidents. Certainly a single tragedy dampens a celebration. At the same time, this year we can be generally pleased with the tranquility that reigned over 2007’s festivities.
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Government warnings regarding the handling of fireworks had their desired effect, although such precautions should be maximized to result in zero risk. We should congratulate ourselves on the normality of it all; which is to say that even in the most crowded of festivals, we are able to behave as a mature society.”
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I couldn’t agree more! There was such a mix of people, too: children, adults, senior citizens, families, couples, neighbors, natives, immigrants, tourists, straights, gays… And as exciting and action-packed as it all was, there was such a feeling of community, peace and, yes, tranquility.
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Here is a link to the original article: Verbena tranquila

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