Mel's Healing Pilgrimage 2016

Links to the Camino de Santiago pilgrimages are on the navigation links to the right of the web page.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Fantabulous Fiesta de San Juan - June 23, 2023

We walked into Nájera fairly quickly and were able to rest before the Fiesta de San Juan. There were multiple meals beside the river and the festival atmosphere was obvious among the residents. We say people walking with kindling wood for the bonfire and colorful outfits. There seemed to be a color-code to the costumes but we couldn’t figure it out.

There’s an odd feeling watching people celebrating and having fun. First, there’s the intent on trying to connect with them. Why is a religious feast day so filled with alcohol and music and bonfires? Then it’s trying to understand just how they are having fun: what do the costumes mean? There’s also a question of why a one day religious observance gets stretched out over a week. 

We sort of felt happy that everyone was having fun but we were also sort of excluded. We walked around trying to enjoy bit it’s hard to emulate that feeling without the cultural context. And that’s ok. It’s not about us.

So here’s the twist. For me, this weekend is an important one for LGBTQ in the USA. This used to be when pride weekend was most commonly celebrated. People get upset about pride parade because they think it’s about bragging. Maybe it should be called “I don’t want to hate myself like you hate me” weekend or “no more lies” parade. The point is, if you’re not familiar with the context, you won’t easily feel the joy, the enthusiasm, and the relief of the celebration. It’s as foreign as a Fiesta de San Juan. It makes you feel left out.

And that’s ok. It’s not about you.

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