A Heart On for the Holidays / ¿San Valenavidad?

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

WE HAVE A big, twinkly red heart in our plaza for the holidays. Usually we have a very tall Christmas tree (of lights, not a real tree). Maybe Fuengirola has become socially aware and opted for non-denominational holiday decorations. Nah… I don’t think so.

The municipal nativity scene (called a Belén, which means Bethlehem) is back on the plaza in the center of town (about a 30-minute walk from here) alongside the [hideous, in my humble opinion] statue of Isabel and Ferdinand (the “Catholic Monarchs”).

The heart in our neighborhood is quite nice, if just a bit incongruous. I wonder if it will remain for Valentine’s Day.

Anyway, I love the Belénes that get displayed in Spain. If I had lived here longer, I definitely would have built my own collection. I used to love building dioramas when I was a kid (my parents didn’t think it was a very masculine pass-time); I’d be in heaven (atheist heaven) with my very own Bethlehem. But, speaking of incongruous, my version wouldn’t include the holy family.


TENEMOS UN GRAN corazón rojo centelleante en nuestra plaza para las fiestas. Por lo general, tenemos un árbol de Navidad muy alto (de luces, no un árbol real). Tal vez Fuengirola se ha vuelto socialmente consciente y ha optado por decoraciones festivas no confesionales. No … no lo creo.

El Belén Municipal está de vuelta en una plaza en el centro de la ciudad (a unos 30 minutos a pie desde aquí) junto a la [horrible, en mi humilde opinión] estatua de Isabel y Fernando (los “Reyes Católicos”) .

El corazón de nuestro barrio es bastante agradable, aunque sea un poco incongruente. Me pregunto si quedará para el día de San Valentín.

De todos modos, me encantan los belenes que se exhiben en España. Si hubiera vivido aquí más tiempo, definitivamente habría construido mi propia colección. Me encantaba construir dioramas cuando era niño y estaría en el cielo con mi propio Belén. Pero hablando de incongruente, mi versión no incluiría a la sagrada familia.

These first two above are from one of the front windows of Merino, my favorite shop..
Estas dos fotos anteriores son de una de las ventanas frontales de Merino, mi tienda favorita.
Arriving at the Belén Municipal.
Al llegar al Belén Municipal.
Plaza de España, in front of City Hall. Too early to see the lights.
Plaza de España, frente al Ayuntamiento. Demasiado temprano para ver las luces.
The colors of the Spanish flag in poinsettias.
Los colores de la bandera de españa en poinsettias.
Passing the Belén Municipal on my way home.
Pasando el Ayuntamiento de Belén de camino a casa.
I guess it’s true, home really IS where the heart is.
Supongo que es verdad, el hogar realmente ES donde está el corazón.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

24 thoughts on “A Heart On for the Holidays / ¿San Valenavidad?”

  1. Very impressive displays. And it looks like you had ‘the place’ pretty much to yourself (unless you are the consummate editor).
    The ‘people’ in Bethlehem look real.

    1. Jim,
      Wednesday evening before and just at sunset was a good time to be wandering. Tonight and onward will have a lot more people. The pieces that can be purchased can be incredible… and incredibly expensive.

  2. All this foo-farah around la navidad takes me back to my innocent as a lamb catholic kid-hood. One of the biggest disappointments in life, for me, has been discovering what a sham it all was. I so wanted to believe it was true! It is great spectacle, though, and maybe that’s what’s worth preserving.

    1. MEBE,
      I love the cultural traditions but am very uncomfortable at times with the religious aspects.

  3. Love the heart.
    And I posted about a church in California whose Nativity scene this year is Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in cages,.

  4. I really need to get out my opera glasses. I thought that said you had a hard for the holidays$!!!!

    I’m far from religious, i mean churches barely stay intact when i enter….but I love seeing a good nativity scene. My parent’s have a lovely set from Italy which she no longer puts out. I may take it.

    1. Mistress Maddie,
      I try, but that would be a lie… although I do get excited about these belenes. I love the fact that they create the entire town of Bethlehem. Yours would be incredible, I’m sure.

  5. I love that red heart! And the belens are nice too. But where’s the guy taking a crap? I thought he was a traditional part of them. Maybe that’s only in Mexico or somewhere.

    1. Debra,
      El caganer (the crapper) tradition is more connected with Catalan and surrounding areas. Merino, that shop, was the first place I ever saw one. Some of our friends have them… and peeing people, too.

    1. Anne Marie,
      I have a nicer one, although it isn’t strung with lights. (I suppose it could be.)

  6. The dioramas are pretty great – especially the one where he is hand shearing sheep. The heart? Not very Christmassy but cost effective if they are keeping it until Valentines Day

  7. I had several Nativity that were destroyed in the wildfire. A few made it and I set up at least two every year. I like remembering a touchstone to my beliefs and childhood.
    The Heart is lovely but a Tree with Lights, Is just so pretty and happy no matter your beliefs. One of my close Jewish friend always put up a Christmas Tree in her window. She told me that they celebrated Hanukkah but put a tree up because they are part of a community. Wonderful words to live by.

    1. Parsnip,
      That’s a nice sentiment, although I don’t think religious people would agree. I wonder if her neighbors light Chanukah menorahs. So tragic about your losses in the fire.

    1. Urspo:
      I didn’t spot Baby Jesus in the municipal belén, so maybe they follow the “rules.” More importantly, to my mind at least, is there’s no Santa Claus (Papá Noel). We wait for the Three Kings to arrive with gifts.

      1. Urspo:
        All we’ve ever gotten from Los Tres Reyes has been candy on our doorstep in the morning.

Please share your thoughts...

%d bloggers like this: