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Holy Innocents on La Palma

The 28th of December is Holy Innocents’ Day, which commemorates the massacre of the innocents by Herod in Matthew’s gospel (although according to Wikipedia, it’s probably not a historical event). In Spain and Spanish-speaking countries, it’s the Spanish equivalent of April Fool’s Day. For example, one year I told my husband that the police had been around asking whether he’d been jogging in the nude. Now my husband does go…

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Felix Francisco Casanova

This statue is on the Calle Real in Santa Cruz. Felix Francisco Casanova published his first book of poetry in 1960, when he was 14. He started winning poetry prizes at 17, even before he went to the university on Tenerife to study, and spent all the money on rock records, particularly by Jim Morrison. That hairstyle must have raised eyebrows in Franco’s Spain. He was still a student and…

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Nativity Scenes in the Canaries

Christmas trees are a newish thing here, although probably most houses have one now. The main traditional decoration is nativity scenes. Some just show the stable, but some public ones are so elaborate that they include the whole village, and it’s always a Canarian village. Obviously that’s historically inaccurate, but no more so than all the English nativity scenes where Mary and Jesus are blond. This one was on display…

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The Christmas tree in the silk museum in El Paso, La Palma

Christmas trees

When I arrived on La Palma in 1990, Christmas trees were a new, foreign idea, so they were expensive. Most people had nativity scenes instead, and they still do. Since then, Christmas trees have become much commoner, and cheaper. Since trees were expensive quite recently, I still see creative alternatives. The one above belongs to a friend, and it’s about 8 inches high. The one below is made from an…

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Canary Bell Flower

This is the Canary bellflower, Canarina canariensis, which has no close living relatives. It scrambles over things, like bindweed, with a stem up to 3 m long, and produces these lovely flowers in December. All the examples I’ve found so far this year are in Los Tilos, on the road up to the visitor centre and around the back of it.

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