Yesterday, La Feria kicked off with something called “la cabalgata.” If I would have had to think of a Spanish word for what this event was, I probably would have said “desfile” or “procesión,” but mis maestras told me to call it “cabalgata” instead.
In English? It was a parade.
But it was the first Spanish parade that I had ever been to. It was nice because although Ronda is a city, it’s a small city with a strong sense of community. I’ve already been out eating and have run into people I met briefly before, and they remember me and greet me warmly. Everyone seems to be somewhat acquainted, and most people are very friendly.
Everyone squeezed together along la Carrera de Espinel (the main shopping road, also called “La Bola” colloquially) to watch la cabalgata. There were lots of different parts of the parade… it started with some police cars to clear the street, and then some stilted people walked by…
This guy was also here. Not sure why. But he’s frightening.
A marching band also came through. For some reason this seemed weird to me. I guess it really set my thinking into motion about Ronda as a community. At home, when I was in high school, I was always in the band and marched in tons of parades. I would always KNOW people along the streets, and the places where the parades took place were so familiar. I guess seeing this just made me imagine what it would be like to grow up in Ronda and see it as home. After this, some dancers came and stopped in front of us to dance.
But the majority of la cabalgata consisted of floats piled with children in traditional Goyesco costumes. The girls’ dresses were all ruffled and polka dotted, and they wore earrings and hair accessories and little shoes… they were just so adorable! The boys wore outfits that reminded me of bullfighter costumes, and all the kids threw confetti at the bystanders. I was COVERED in confetti by the end!
Those last two girls saw my camera and asked me to take their picture! Again, seeing all these kids having so much fun, it made me think more about what it must be like to grow up in Ronda. I’m sure these kids (the girls, especially) wait in excitement for weeks to wear a pretty dress and ride in the parade and throw confetti at people. And I imagine their parents are excited too, and spend the time picking out the clothes and getting the kids ready, and are so proud to see them riding in la cabalgata. It all just has such an air of celebration and happiness about it!
One of the other most exciting attractions in la cabalgata… the streamer men. I’m not sure if they actually have an official Spanish name, but I know that they are men who shoot streamers out of portable… streamer cannons? Words don’t do it justice.
Ahh, it was so much fun! They kept shooting more and more streamers… we all got tangled in them, and the streamers just PILED up on the streets. I’ve really never seen anything like it before, but it was probably my favorite part of the whole cabalgata.
As a part of La Feria, one local girl is crowned “La Reina” (the queen). It’s a lot like our Queen Tiadaghton pageant back home. The “court” rode on a big float, with all the girls in pretty, traditional dresses.
I don’t know when or where the actually crowning happens, but it was still cool to see. Finally, towards the end of the parade, there were women and men dressed in traditional flamenco costumes. These dresses are AMAZING, and the dances are amazing, too.
I briefly ran into some of my Czech classmates while we were at the parade, but we soon got separated in the crowd. Since my camera battery died, I just went back to my apartment afterwards. Covered in confetti, smiling, and glad to be a part of this wonderful celebration.