I Live In Spain, Where Do You Live?

Posted: January 16, 2012 in Life, Spain, Tenerife, Writing

Here’s a question that had me reeling, aghast and plain amazed – Why would an English language magazine publish something that was a Spanish tradition?

December 28th is Dia de los Inocentes in Spain. It’s the equivalent of April Fool’s Day in Britain and the tradition is that the media publishes or broadcasts hoax stories.

One of the main Spanish TV channels had a whole night of screening pranks, one involved fooling a man into believing he was witnessing a murder.

For the last two years I’ve published a hoax story on Tenerife Magazine to commemorate the date…and for the past two years it’s caused a bit of a stir amongst some people who aren’t aware of the tradition (even though this time the piece was clearly tagged with Dia de los Inocentes).

A few savvy people clocked it was a Dia de los Inocentes story right away, leaving comments on Facebook, Twitter and on the article itself. And most others, once wise to Dia de los Inocentes, got the joke. But the comment about why would an English language magazine print a Dia de los Inocentes story that had me reeling wasn’t left on any of the magazine’s social media channels, it was left by an ex-pat resident on an English language forum.

I’m not a judgemental sort of person (what bollocks – I’m terribly judgemental) so if someone living on Tenerife doesn’t know about or isn’t interested in the island’s traditions then that’s up to them. Live and let live and all that jazz. But if someone living on Tenerife who doesn’t know about the traditions has the audacity to criticise me for following one then that’s a very different story.

The question was so utterly ridiculous that I’d have thought it was a hoax itself, except I knew it wasn’t.

Why would an English language magazine write about a Spanish tradition?

Why would we write about carnaval…or the flower carpets at Corpus Christi…or the goat bathing at midsummer? And why do we write about eating cabra and conejo? Because I don’t see the difference between any of those and observing Dia de los Inocentes.

Why would an English language magazine write about a Spanish tradition?

Why? Why? Because we happen to live in Tenerife, Spain and not Weston-super-Mare that’s why.

  1. OMG! I’ve had comments and emails from people who’ve been duped by my Inocentes stories in the past too and I always link to the explanation of what the day is all about. But, that’s ridiculous. There’s a clue in the title of Tenerife Magazine that suggests it’s likely you’ll cover Tenerife traditions. Unless they think Tenerife is a British colony?

    • dragojac says:

      ‘Unless they think Tenerife is a British colony’- LOL, some clearly are under that impression. That wasn’t the most bizarre comment though. I’ll tell you about that one on FB 😉

  2. Richard says:

    Some of the English people living here definitely think that Tenerife is ‘Blackpool / Brighton in the sun’. Some that have been living here ages hardly speak a word of Spanish, don’t make an effort to learn even the basics, and don’t think it’s necessary. Then when they find themselves in a situation where it definitely is necessary, they come over all indignant that the doctor / nurse / policeman / waiter etc doesn’t speak English. The absolute worse case of this is those that also complain about immigrants in the UK not learning English.

    They probably also expect Spanish people to know about April Fools 🙂

    • dragojac says:

      You’re absolutely right Richard. I can’t count the number of times I’ve read comments from people who have moved here complaining abouty the number of immigrants in the UK – some of them actually living in municipalities where up to 75% of the residents are…you’ve guessed it…immigrants. Incredible.

      When we pointed out to a guy mouthing off in a bar about immigrants in the UK that we were also immigrants his answer was ‘ah, but you’re not the same.’

      Doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the perceived difference is 🙂

  3. monterivero says:

    Thanks so much for writing this! I am half canarian half manc living here on the island, and I cannot tell you how many times a day I want to strangle brits who have been on the island YEARS and do not know a word of spanish or anything related to the island… I find it so insulting to the people and the beautiful island that they are living on!! keep up the posts!

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