Autumn begins in the Canary Island town of San Mateo with the feast day of its patron, Saint Matthew. These festivities include a great cattle and livestock show (in Spanish, la feria de ganado) and much music. Last Friday we processed up the cobbled streets of the old town to the church with one of the floats (in Spanish, carrozas) carrying our offering for the poor. Our load consisted of fruit and vegetables with crates of locally grown potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers and lots more. The theme of each float generally commemorates some local feature of the town. This is almost always from the past and ours was decked out with old fashioned gas pumps from a service station now long gone (but not forgotten).
Each float carries food and drink to share with revellers and our stash included hard boiled eggs (in Canary Spanish, huevos sancochados) and much drink. The group that was supposed to provide musical accompaniment as we traipsed along did not show up, however, so the Patricia González and her brother Gregorio (former town mayor) had to settle for a long timple player. I think the guy was a foreigner and he only knew Canary folk songs in English. Can you imagine!
After the procession, everyone congregated in the town center for a night of dancing and merriment, till dawn, I am told. It is a great Canary tradition and I say "¡Viva la Vega de San Mateo!" (Long live San Mateo township).