Strange Fiestas Spain
La Fiesta de los Nanos en Cocentaina Spain
Cocentaina is a Valencian town inland towards Alcoy at the foot of the Sierra Mariola. This area has strong agricultural roots and celebrates this with a fiesta held on All Saints day(Todos los Santos) on and around the 1st of November.
In the Pueblo looms the Clarrisen monastery, the Palace of the count and the church of El salvador. These are stand alone in their magnificence but the real attractions of Cocentaina are the warm, welcoming and open minded people.
The Nanos first appeared in Cocentaina hanging from the corners of streets in the late eighteenth century with posters, the words and dolls were there to ridicule its political and prominent figures.
A risky act even though anonymous and surprisingly no retaliations were made to this day.
Imagination and Criticism Combined
Venture into the old town in the middle of Lent (21 days after Ash Wednesday) and there you will see some strange satirical celebrations, life size rag dolls (Nanos) have appeared miraculously overnight and take up communal areas, corners of streets and along most of the houses. Some stand and some sit alone at a table with a bottle of wine, others huddle in groups and several hang from trees.
All share in common Valencian scribed tags, some large boards and others pinned to their clothes, the majority of the messages are pointing at famous celebrities and local politicians using imagination and criticism combined.
Now days the tradition is an event covered by the media and children are encouraged to take part yet this semi commercialisation doesn't distort the true purpose of the Nanos to get across the common man's feelings toward certain prominent figures. Some messages poke fun and some criticise individuals with caricatures included on the particular Nanos, from as simple as a mustache to a recognisable effigy and as from the beginning no reprisals are sort after, all are taking in fun.