Saturday, July 21, 2007

The History Man

I am, for my sins, a history scholar. Or, at least, I have a history degree. History continues to fascinate. And living in a different society, there is a whole new history to learn. But I wonder how important history is to many visitors, or indeed to many of those who have decided to live and work here. My guess would be, not very. Or perhaps I’m wrong. Whatever, here is a very short history thing. On 26 July this year in Alcúdia, there is the 500th anniversary of the Sant Crist miracle, an event that takes place every three years.

As the name implies, the celebration is of Christ. The deal is thus:

In 1507, Alcúdia and indeed the whole of the island was enduring a time of famine, plague and warring between competing dynasties. To add to this, Alcúdia had a threat of drought, which, in turn, threatened the harvest. In order to try and combat this, the local clergy and justices, organised a procession. It was to be a form of begging or pleading procession, the centrepiece of which would be an image of Christ on the cross, crafted from wood. The hope was that an adoration of and pleading to this image would lead to some form of deliverance from the misfortune that had befallen the local people.

The image was taken from the cave of Sant Martí, which is at the foot of the Puig (hill) Sant Martí, which overlooks Alcúdia. On returning to the cave, it was noted that the image oozed water and some drops of blood. This was subsequently confirmed by the religious men. The upshot of all this was that the next harvest was one of the best for many years, thus cementing the miracle of Sant Crist into local history, tradition and folklore. Whether you believe it or not (and as with most of these alleged miracles, they are implausible at best), is not really the point. The fact is that it is part of local history, mythology one might even venture. And it gives the clergy a chance to dress up and walk through the streets and for there to be a bit of a do.

And as to why every three years. In 1697 the then rector of the Sant Jaume church decreed as such. Moreover, they shifted the actual date from 28 July to 26 July, which also happens to be the date of Santa Anna.

So, now you know.

From the sublime to the, well not ridiculous, but quite different. Just a note to say that Mike and Jane Lynham - Mr and Mrs Puddle Duck as they are often referred to - had their leaving thrash at the Crew Bar last night. The boat is about ready, we saw the photos of the place, and in a week or so they will set sail for a new life in Bulgaria.

Quiz: Simple Minds from the title track of “Street Fighting Years”. Norman “Hurricane” Smith who worked with The Beatles and Pink Floyd and had some truly dire hits of his own. What is with it Normans requiring alter egos? Name a famous one who was/is a mate of Paul Heaton’s. (This particular Norman was not actually originally Norman.) And a literary question: who wrote “The History Man”?


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