Yesterday, while we were smoking on our balconies, my neighbor had to remind me that today, March 19th, Saint Joseph’s Day, is a public holiday in some Spanish regions.
Also called the Feast of Saint Joseph or the Solemnity of Saint Joseph in Western Christianity, it commemorates Saint Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary and legal father of Jesus Christ, and enjoys the rank of a solemnity in the Catholic Church.
I thought that to be kind of funny as in the morning I was just thinking about how easy it was to forget Easter celebrations when I was living in a country with a tiny Christian minority like Taiwan.
Actually, it’s not observed all over Spain, but only in seven of the 17 autonomous communities: Basque County, Extremadura, Galicia, Madrid, Murcia, Navarre and Valencia, where schools, businesses and government offices are closed.
In the city where I grew up and currently live, Valencia, under normal circumstances today would have been the final day of Fallas, a festival declared as Intangible Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO Committee on the 30th of November 2016.
As every year, the biggest local cultural event and one of the most relevant in Spain was supposed to take place from the 12th to the 19th of March.
Though for the second time in a role since the Spanish Civil War ended in 1939, all related activities were cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
I had that chat in the late afternoon after I had just discovered that the elevator was stuck between the 6th and the 7th floor due to water damage to the engine because of short, but heavy rainfall.
The water-repellent layer on the rooftop terrace had slowly been removed by the forces of nature and as in Spain repairs often take ages, before the problem could be fixed, some rainwater finally found its way into the device that operates the lift.
I immediately phoned the temporary president of our small neighboring community just after his siesta and he was already aware of the situation.
The bad news is that the maintenance company told him that they would only be able to restore normality in our building once it has stopped raining.
Add the three-day weekend and most likely most of us will get plenty of exercise at least until next Monday…
P.D.: People in Italy, Spain and Portugal on March 19th also celebrate “Father’s Day”.