Today is the first of three posts on the festivities of Carnaval in Vilanova i la Geltrú! I have never attended Carnaval or Mardi Gras and truthfully have never really had any interest. Our friend Mark has been telling us about how special Carnaval is in Vilanova and how different it is from others in the area including Sitges. ‘Vilanova Carnaval is by the people for the people.’ he has told us. Other friends have echoed his description. We had to attend. Well, Bob flew back to the States last Thursday for a couple of weeks for work so it was up to me to check it out.
The first event that Mark introduced me to was the Meringada on Thursday evening. WOW! I’ve said it before but it must be so magical to be a kid here with these incredible traditions.
The story of Meringada is unique to Vilanova and started way back when a bakery in the village created a huge meringue for the children and placed it in front of the bakery. Well, as kids will be kids they not only ate the meringue but enjoyed throwing it at their friends. Things progressed and an event was created just for this crazy, messy fun.
Now, the kids have icing piping bags filled with meringue that they use to squirt at their friends. This event is held in the square near the central market but to be honest it started outside of that area. LOL. How do you hand a bag of this stuff to a child and then tell them they have to wait to use it until the event starts? The answer…you can try but it won’t make any difference. The organizers also throw bags out to the crowd so it is crazy!
As you can see from the pictures the kids had a blast. No crying, no fighting and no having their faces stuck in a phone. These kids of all different ages are BEING KIDS! They are running around giggling, laughing, surprising a friend or family member with a sticky meringue treat in the face or hair.
The videos all move a bit too quickly at times but you may hear me in one of them say to Mark that I had one eye on the camera and the other one watching the kids running towards or around me so that I didn’t get hit with meringue.
These three stopped to pose for a photo!
There were a few techniques in spreading the meringue. Squirt it, swing the bag or the technique below where you have someone squeeze a blob into your hands…this way you can make sure your aim lands with the best effect.
Now, the thing about meringue is that it stiffens and dries wherever it lands. So the faces and hair covered in the meringue are now stiff making for some great looks!
This little guy was standing in front of us on the sidelines with his very own bag of meringue which he just carried around and seemed content that he was a part of the fun.
Definitely a family affair.
The friends in the photo below are one thing but don’t you just LOVE that mural?
Now for any of you concerned about the mess…not to worry the cleaning crews were ready and waiting and there was no trace of it the next day. Oh, and I am sure that a few baths/showers were taken that night.