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Mostrando entradas de enero, 2006

The Epiphany

When Franco's Minister for Propaganda and Tourism, - and more recently in democracy, the President of the autonomous region of Galicia, Manuel Fraga ,- coined the phrase "Spain is different" as part of a 1960's campaign to revitalise the tourist industry, his objective was to promote the country as an exotic and unique destination. 40 years later, Spain is a changed country however the phrase in many ways continues to hold true. One characteristic feature that still continues to surprise foreigners, or guiris (as the Spanish often refer to their northern neighbours ), is the Spanish tradition of exchanging presents, not on Christmas day but on the evening of January 5, the eve of 'la fiesta de los reyes magos', or the Epiphany as it is referred to in 'Anglo Saxon' cultures. Globalisation and the continual commercialisation of Christmas has led to Santa Claus gaining prestige in Spain however previous attempts to bring Spain into line with the rest o