Wednesday, 12 October 2005

What does Columbus Day Mean to You?

As a European disillusioned with the current US administration, my first thought is "but that he had never found the place." And, here I must assume additional "blame", since it was from the neighbouring island of La Gomera that Columbus set off on that initial voyage in 1492. See: Columbus in The Canary Islands

"Columbus Day" has been celebrated as an official, national holiday in Spain since 1958. Though it is known here as Día de la Hispanidad.

That term is from classic Spanish that has since fallen into disuse and, I suppose, a literal translation would be that it is a celebration of "Hispanicness", since the roots of the holiday were in the celebration of the race. During the 20th Century, the focus was changed.

As someone living in the Canarian "outback", it's "ah, that would be the reason I was rudely awoken by the hunters' guns going bang."

One of these days I'll get used to these "country pursuits", I suppose, but it does not seem that it will be any time soon. During the season (roughly, August to November), these bunny cullers are permitted to hunt on Thursdays, Sundays and National Holidays.

I knew it was a holiday, I knew they were permitted to do so, but those are not one's first thoughts prior to 8 a.m. Why is it that I must get up earlier on the days that everyone else thinks is a holiday?

I thought this was just me being stupid - an unaccustomed city girl - but I was amused and relieved at the same time to discover that my next door neighbour, who has lived in the area all her life, feels exactly the same way about both the early mornings and the bangs.

And I can't remember a year in which the hunters have taken as much advantage of their rights as they have this year. I don't specifically recall what they have done on the fiesta before, but I really haven't been aware of a week day as full of bangs as this one.

Most years, the hunting has been every Sunday and some Thursdays. This year, it's been every Thursday, Sunday and chance they could.

Still, if I hadn't got up so early, I would have missed a very pretty, pink dawn and the large black (I'd better write this word in full) cockerel wandering about the field next to the house. I assume he's escaped from the neighbour's hen house. Maybe he was being hen pecked? LOL! Personally, I preferred it when the five geese were escaping and greeting us every morning, but I have a feeling he'll quickly learn how to "escape" back in ... As the two cats who had followed me outside spotted him and were off to investigate.

Yes, the cats are perfectly safe outside with the hunters around. I made them flack jackets! No, but they seem to have the sense to stay close and could get inside or up a tree easily enough. My dog is another matter. She is normally quite bright, but she does not seem to understand that she is quite safe from the gunshots indoors, but hiding, nay, cowering under my desk does mean she gets stepped on and kicked all the time!

And we can look forward to another day of it tomorrow, gee!

Today is also my friend's birthday.

Whatever Columbus Day means to you, have a good one!

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