Sunday, December 21, 2008
Ubrique's Belen Viviente (Living Nativity) was a huge success, and for me, an experience of a lifetime. I have never before witnessed an entire community come together to put together such an incredible Christmas display. Most people were out working at 8:00 am setting up structures and converting the Casco Antiguo (the historic part of town) into a scene straight from first century Bethlehem. Others trickled in throughout the day, and some just came to work the actual "event" which started around 6:00 pm and ended at 3:30 am. Regardless of arrival time, there were hundreds of people continually working to make this all come together, and it did indeed come together - flawlessly. Well, I guess I technically shouldn't say flawlessly. There was one glitch: Ubrique (yes, the entire town) lost electricity for about 2 hours, so most of the Belen Viviente was plagued by complete darkness for a while. Fortunately for me, I was working at the Census and and was surrounded by about 20 candles! We were the only station with light :-) Aside from this, however, the Belen Viviente was perfect. Not only beautifully constructed and carried out, but there were thousands of people from all over Spain (and from England, Germany, Argentina, etc) lining the streets. It truly was a sight to see. A Belen Viviente to spread Christmas cheer, bring people together in celebration, and to raise money for charity - could there be a better way to spend your Saturday night?