In This Issue:
Special Feature: World Flamenco Day Events Review
Spanish Culture Feature:Christmas in Andalucia
Recipe Corner: Mantecados
Call for Board Members
We had a busy November with our first performances in almost two years. Our January class schedule is out. Registration is open! Dance with us in 2022, or give the gift of classes to a loved one.
To get you in the holiday mood, learn how Andalucians celebrate Christmas.
World Flamenco Day Events Review
Photo credits: Jon James
We are grateful to Nova Scotia Communities, Culture and Heritage for supporting this event.
Our recent events to celebrate World Flamenco Day were a lot of fun and received a warm reception.
It was wonderful to be back on stage presenting, dancing and playing flamenco for the public. We included a mixture of informative presentations with demonstrations of dance, music and rhythms from our artists.
There were also opportunities for the audience to get up and dance with us, try some flamenco rhythms and even some flamenco karaoke!
The students of Flamenco and Ballet School Maria Osende joined us for some Sevillanas. So wonderful to dance together again after all this time.
We even had a special guest appearance by puss in boots, who serenaded us at the end of the show and entertained all with debonair charm.
It was equal parts amazing and nerve-wracking to be back on stage after almost two years away. It was surprising how quickly we all settled back in to the rhythm of it and we are so grateful to those who attended and gave such heartfelt support. We look forward to seeing you again soon at our next event!
Did you attend the event? If so we would love to hear form you! please take this short survey to help us improve our events.
Registration is now open! We have Flamenco and Ballet classes both in-person, hybrid/online.
Register today for early bird discounts (until 15th December).
|Personalized Gift Certificates available for the Holidays|
Christmas in Andalucia
Photo Credit: Guido Montanes Castillo
Andalucia, at Christmas, is undoubtedly one of Europe’s most beautiful destinations. Its ancient traditions have been handed down from generation to generation.
The Belén – Nativity Scene
The Nativity Scene is an important and popular tradition in Andalusia; called “Belén”or Bethlehem. The Spanish Belén decoration consists of little statues , houses, rivers and even animals; all recreating the moment that Jesus was born. This nativity is often a surprisingly
large collection of pieces that have been lovingly gathered over the years . Often families, co-workers and especially teachers and students build a structure in order to set up the entire town of Bethlehem with all the important characters featured in the sprawling scenery.
These days it is common to have both the Christmas tree and the Nativity Scene together as a Christmas decoration in Spain, but the Nativity Scene is treated with greater tender love and respect.
Image Source: http://www.bicontinental.co/spanish-christmas-history-traditions/
Spanish Christmas Dinner in Andalucia
Christmas Eve is the night for family get-togethers and the main Christmas meal. One item that will surely be at every table is an entire leg of cured ham. It is served in thin slices as an appetizer, together with a selection of smoked salmon, pates, cured meats and special cheese slices. It is often the main course as well.
Spanish Christmas Carols – Villancicos and Flamenco
International Christmas carols are not popular in Andalucia. Regional Christmas songs, ‘villancicos’ have been sung here for centuries. The lyrics are religious, most are about the birth of Jesus. Children go door to door to sing a villancico, in return for pocket money known as ‘aguinaldo’.
Some traditional villancicos verses are sung in the Flamenco style (typically bulerias compas) and can be accompanied by dancing.
Everybody brings something for the child
I have nothing to bring him
I will bring him my heart
which will act as diapers.
Andalucian’s Sweet Christmas Snack – Mantecados
Christmas Spanish treats exclusive to Andalucia are the Mantecados. In the 16th century Andalucia had an overproduction of lard and corn, so they had to think of something to do with it to use it up.They came up with Mantecado!
There is debate as to which town/city these pastries were born, but one thing is clear, the recipe quickly spread throughout Spain. Estepa, a city located near Sevilla, has the majority of factories making mantecado. It is where the “Mantecado marketing” started in the 19th century. It is the home of the Museum of the Mantecado.
For the preparation
- 2 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 shots anise-flavored liqueur, anisette or other
- 1 lemon peel, grated
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 7 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus 1/4 to 1/2 cup more, if needed
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 large egg white, beaten, for the glaze
- Cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling, optional
- Gather the ingredients
- Preheat the oven to 325 F
- In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to whip the vegetable shortening with the oil. Add the sugar and mix until smooth. Add the egg yolks, anisette, lemon peel, lemon juice, and cinnamon, and mix together.
- Add 7 of the cups flour, 1 cup at a time to the mixture, then add baking soda. Be sure to mix well. The dough should be smooth and soft.
- Using a teaspoon, scoop out a dollop of dough. Form balls about the size of walnuts using your hands. If the dough is too sticky to roll into balls, mix in additional flour (from 1/4 to 1/2 cup).
- Place balls onto an non-greased cookie sheet. Lightly press down on each ball to flatten slightly. Brush the beaten egg white on the top of each cookie. Bake cookies until they begin to turn light brown on the bottom edges, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Let the cookies cool 5 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet, as they are very delicate. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon if desired.