One of the beauties of not understanding the language in which plans are being made is that you never really know what you’re in for. Had I known from the beginning of the evening at 6 pm that it would be a full 12 hours before my head would hit the pillow, I might have felt that my body wasn’t quite up for an all nighter that night. But instead, ignorance was bliss, and I tagged along for what I thought was an innocent stroll through the village following the bombon at the cafe. The parade had come to an end at 1:30 in the morning and now the streets were teeming with people. And that’s when I understood why it was just unfathomable for David’s family to let me leave the house in my scooter attire. The whole village was dressed up as if they were going out for a night of clubbing. They were dressed to impress and there was an energy in the air as if anything was possible that night. As it turned out, they were going out for a night of clubbing – village style – and I was too.
Our little group had split up into two – David’s aunt, uncle, cousin (Antonio) in one group and Aurora, Elisabel, their boyfriends and Antonio’s girlfriend in another. Not understanding what was going on, I naturally assumed that we were going with the second group but was quickly informed that that group was going home because they had to work the next day and that we were continuing on to part two of the evening. David’s aunt and uncle must be in their late 60s but it turns out that they have a lot of energy. And since they weren’t tending to the fruits and vegetables, they had a whole lot of extra energy to put towards having fun.
And it was at this point in the evening when I saw exactly how the Spaniards party. This sleepy little village lying at the base of a mountain that took navigation and skill to even find, was fully alive and partying with intention, with purpose. There was no slowing them down. The time had come for them to celebrate the Moros y Cristianos festivities and this hardworking village was going to do it the proper way. The youth were out in droves. It was their moment to shine. The adults were happy for the break from work and the kids were like children on Christmas eve. Bedtime didn’t apply this evening because no one was going to bed.
And not only can the Spaniards party, but they know how to throw a good party. They had efficiently transformed empty plots of land into “barracas”, temporary nightclubs equipped with a bar, a dance floor and even a stage. Most impressive, though, was the variety. Different ones, featuring completely different style of music catering to different age groups, lined the streets. Tired of the more traditional Spanish songs? Move on to techno just down the street. They were next to eachother yet, miraculously, didn’t interfere with each other. Playing into the night air, the sound got absorbed and the little village rocked louder than ever.
We went first to the traditional Spanish music barraca. On stage was a band of four 20-something singers singing the older songs to an older crowd. By now, it was 2 am and David’s aunt and uncle were still going strong. It turns out that they love to dance and dance they did even though, despite the late hour, it was still hot and humid. Meanwhile, I stayed on my feet just to stay awake.
But there were too many barracas to stay focused on just one and David’s cousin, Antonio, David and I soon set off to explore the others. One had good music but the crowd was too young – or maybe it was the fact that dancing with teenagers made us feel really old. Another had decent music and a good crowd. And all featured gogo girls and guys dancing on pedestals in skimpy nothings. I wondered where in the world all these young people had come from, and David informed me that the youth in Spain, during the festivities, travel from village to village. It’s their version of party hopping, and, in this way, the entire summer becomes one blissful, never-ending fiesta.
At about 5 am, David and I took a break to get churros and passed the village church where churchgoers were already lining up in order to get a seat for the 6 am mass. For those who couldn’t fit inside or simply just couldn’t, God forbid, muster up the energy to roll out of bed, the mass would be broadcast on loudspeakers throughout the square. Meanwhile, kids were still out and about, partaking in their own set of all night activities.
When we finally headed home at about 5:30, the party was just beginning to die down. The villagers were finally getting tired! As I lay my head on my oh-so-sweet pillow at David’s aunt’s house, I wondered how in the world the Moros y Cristianos celebration had turned into an all night party. I prided myself on suriving the festivities, yet little did I know that, it being Wednesday, this was just the beginning. The parties would continue for the rest of the week.
Unable to do two nights in a row, David and I returned home to freshen up on Thursday, went back to Cox for another all nighter on Friday and I checked out on Saturday night while David continued partying right up until the end. And somewhere in the middle were more parades as well as a huge paella feast sponsored by the village of Cox. The entire village eats lunch together and it was a site to behold. Though I couldn’t eat the seafood paella, I did enjoy the free watermelon!
Though my body and mind aren’t yet quite adjusted to life in Spain, I did live to tell about the Moros y Cristianos festivities of Cox. Meanwhile, the party has moved on to another village, another town. Perhaps by next Summer, I’ll be fully adjusted and ready to join the rest of Valencia in one Summer-long bash!