A Bavarian Horse-Blessing Ceremony

As we sauntered closer to the village of Unterammergau, Germany, horses trotted past us, their highly decorated manes and tails blowing in the late autumn breeze. Not to be outdone by the animals’ distinguished appearances, the horse owners also sported fine Bavarian attire: the men wore grey woolen jackets finished with deer-horn buttons, and darkContinue reading “A Bavarian Horse-Blessing Ceremony”

Tails from a German Horse-Blessing Ceremony

During the last weekend of every October, the village of Unterammergau, Germany honors St. Leonhard, the patron saint of agricultural animals. The event begins with a horse procession through the village of 1,500 people, and culminates in an open-air church service, during which more than one hundred horses are blessed. (Unterammergau is the neighboring villageContinue reading “Tails from a German Horse-Blessing Ceremony”

The Beauty and Tragedy of Sevilla, Part II

We arrived at Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Sevilla in the evening hours. The summer sun was still blazing down, the stadium grand with elegant trimmings. It is Spain’s oldest bullring; its construction began in 1749. There was anticipation in the air as merchants peddled striped seat cushions, cigars, frozenContinue reading “The Beauty and Tragedy of Sevilla, Part II”

The Beauty and Tragedy of Sevilla, Part I

Sevilla. The name evokes a variety of passionate images: Flamenco-dancing women clad in vibrant, polka dot-studded dresses, their feet striking a floor with thunderous blows… A matador de toros poised to enter a ring facing possible goring or death… Spirited bodega-goers clinking glasses overflowing with jewel-toned sangria and amber cerveza… On a balmy long weekend earlier this summer, ShawnContinue reading “The Beauty and Tragedy of Sevilla, Part I”