Friday, December 18, 2009

The day of St. Tomas

The day of St. Tomas is one of the major holidays in the calendar of Donostia. Despite the name, it has no connection with religion. There is no clear agreement on the origins of the festival.
But the argument seems to thrive on 21 December, the day of the arrival of winter, was the one who fixed the owners of farmhouses and houses mostly lived in the capital, San Sebastian, to collect annual rents from tenants. For that reason, they went down to the city with plenty of money, and were loaded with the best products in their villages: all sorts of poultry, the best vegetables and handicrafts to exchange or sell in the city.
Over time, the custom evolved into tradition, and today is a fair field in which there is both exhibition and sale of products and competition.
In addition to the fair, it is surprising the habit of consuming chorizo sandwiches. On 21 December hundereds of people gather in the Old Town of San Sebastian at the stands where these snacks are sold. The countless bars from that part of town, also provide the public with chorizo sandwiches.
The stands are usually attended by organizations or groups of schoolchildren.
The chorizo is a type of fresh sausage, thin and uncured probably made from the ugliest and cruel killing of the pig which, in Guipuzcoa, is performed just before the onset of winter.
In the last years of the dictatorship the habit of eating this chorizo with "talo" instead of white bread began to take root . The “talo” is a kind of cake of cornmeal and water, without yeast, cooked on the grill. Since then, the “talo” has been imposed on the holiday as a vindication of the highest purity of tradition.

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