Remezcla blogger Juliana Nalerio writes to us from Salamanca, Spain while drinking too much caña, attending class in USAL, writing a thesis on Latin life, and just trying to make some sense of it all.
In October, Salamanca’s stone walls and phallic Mediterranean trees are taller, leaning propped up against their own shadows. In this setting, it’s easy for anyone with a brain and a cigarette to get caught up thinking: a city founded before the 3rd century BC has not only ghost stories, but actual dead things lying around. Salamanca is washed in the blood of witch trials, wars, and inquisitions. You get all freaked out as you should on Halloween. Time to put out the cigarette and think of a costume. Here we give you some ideas based on the scary stories of Salamanca.
1. La Celestina – In the Romeo and Juliet of España, La Celestina is a central character who was once a prostitute and now spends her time arranging secret meetings between illicit lovers, while at the same time using her house as a brothel for prostitutes. La Celestina is a witch-y gold-digger of sorts, and represents the Spanish hatred for love that has interest and isn’t pure. This tragic tale takes place in Salamanca. The park, Jardin de Calisto y Malibea, is dedicated to the story and attracts students who go to drink calimocho, watch the sunset, and leave behind love locks (ironic, perhaps). Student couples–mainly ERASMUS–write their names on locks, link them to a mash of locks hanging above a well, and throw the key in the water. Commitment is scary.
2. La Supermana – In the misconception of Spanish tween girls, a possible answer to the question of what to be for Halloween is “Supermana.” You make superman into superman-a via crushing biceps, a Harvard degree, and magnificent tetas (something like Michelle Obama). Scary. In this gendered Superman, ladies are free to be super smart and fucking hot, as well. Not really a ghost story, but she still makes you want to wet the bed.
3. Don Juan – One of the more popular versions of Don Juan comes from the story, El estudiante de Salamanca, which tells the Don´s story in one of its parts. In this version the Don is visited and tempted by many women, all of whom are ghosts. Dress as Don Juan or the sexy zombie women–just remember to get drunk enough to play the part.
Cultural side note: Halloween does not actually exist in Spain. It is an appropriation of American culture that cropped up in the last 15 years as a `thing´. Children sometimes celebrate the holiday with “truco o trato” (trick or deal), but mainly it’s the nightclubs which have picked up the costume tradition as a way to attract party goers, like myself. It happens to coincide with Todos Los Santos, the day Spanish abuelas actually visit cemeteries across Spain to mourn the dead. Y yasta.