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El Día de los Santos Inocentes

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The 28th of December is Innocents' Day, similar in spirit to the American April Fools' Day. On this day, people play inocentadas (pranks or practical jokes) on friends and relatives: people make jokes hoping that the victim believes the false thing. When people get caught, the joker says: "Inocente, inocente!" ("Innocent, innocent!"). The newspapers and other media are in on the joke as well, reporting false news for the people to figure out. In some parts of Spain young boys of a town or village light bonfires and one of them acts as the mayor who orders townspeople to perform civic chores such as sweeping the streets. Refusal to comply results in fines which are used to pay for the celebration.

For sheer exuberance and entertainment, the Fiesta de Verdiales in Malaga outdoes them all. It begins around midday at a wayside inn on the old mountain road between Málaga and Antequera. Thousands of people converge on La Venta del Tunel to watch country musicians in 20 groups locked in a contest to see who can play the longest and loudest.

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