Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bread and Circuses

Parallels between our current time and those of the falling Roman Empire are popular- but the Luguenses seem to have really taken them to heart.

The city of Lugo celebrates Arde Lucus , a Roman-style festival, annually in June.

From last year:

The Roman festival Arde Lucus is fully finalized and sets Lugo apart in Galicia. So said Mayor José López Orozco yesterday,in a presentation with Councillor for Youth, Rosana Rielo, announcing the program of events that will occur over the next 26, 27 and 28th of June. The brochures include the Roman children's party to be held tomorrow at the mall As Termas. On Friday, 26, from four in the afternoon, there will be workshops and percussion, juggling, storytelling, charioteers, the Roman camp will be opened and a group of Legionnaires, who will receive orders in Latin, will be instructed in the art of war. On Saturday, among other acts, Caesar (the edil José Piñeiro) will read a proclamation, announcing the special guests and those who have been elected Civis Honoris.

There will be a fireworks display on the facade of the cathedral, theater, a slave market, a bacchanal, concerts, Celtic weddings and baptisms, and a harp concert. On Sunday there will be numerous street entertainments and dancing, and to close the day, the group Nova Escena will perform the O Cantina scene from the play Lysistrata, not recommended for minors. Rosana Rielo noted the large number of volunteers working together this year, as of yesterday, there were six hundred. Only one hundred had signed up as of last Wednesday. Mayor José López Orozco, meanwhile, noted that Lugo is becoming known as a showcase for some great festive and cultural events. He cited, among others, Corpus Music Week, the Classical Theatre Week, the San Froilan and also Arde Lucus.

Performances in the camp and in the circus: Among the attractions that Arde Lucus offer this year are a camp and a Roman Circus. The camp will be located at the foot of the Wall. There you will see activities such as riding, weapons training of the period, and chariot driving. In the Circus, located in the grounds of the seminary, you will see a full show, said Rosana Rielo, much like those offered in Roman cities.

The event drew 460,000 visitors last year. Three thousand tickets were sold in three hours for the Circus this year. They´ve incorporated a ¨Tapitorum¨ or Tapas route. Am I wrong to prefer this to botellones and Big Brother on the teevee as an opiate of the masses? Notice the large number of volunteers. Could the unemployment rate have anything to do with it?

Despite Galicia´s proud reverance for their ¨Celtic¨ heritage, the Romans seem to have the upper hand here. How are a few weddings and baptisms supposed to compete with chariot races?

As the Spanish economy gets ground into the dust under the wheels of Moody´s and Angela Merkel, will we see Spanish free citizens given the option to sell themselves into slavery to get out from under their mortgages? Stay tuned.

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