Catalans celebrate some quirky holidays, which makes me so happy.
Señor Aventura's good friend (a native Catalan) recently told him about a barbecue he'd attended - a very special barbecue just for French onions. "Apparently there are many different kinds - French onions are a pretty big deal here!"
We've also learned (to the intense delight of our little boys - shrieks of delight in fact) that at Christmas here a popular feature of the local nativity scenes is the "Caganer"- literally a peasant who is pooping in the middle of the traditional nativity scene. This character is literally considered a sacred part of the Catalan nativity - a connection between daily human reality and the idyllic, spiritual perfection of the Holy family. So, even for the very religious - it's all good.
Today we celebrated another unique Catalan tradition called the Mona de Pascua, part of their Easter Monday celebration. Mona de Pascua translates to Spanish Easter cake. For days we'd watched Catalans flooding local bakeries to purchase these colorful monas. We were intrigued. The bakeries were packed. Their windows looked so festive. Never before had we seen cakes adorned with so many colorful feathers and chocolate eggs.
"Mom, can we please get one?" became the daily refrain, every single time we passed a sweet shoppe. Well, what's a traveling mom to do?
In my best broken Spanish I boldly entered a local shop and requested to buy our very own Mona... with the understanding that we would wait to eat it today. Families in Catalunya typically get together to eat the Mona together on Easter Monday. We decided to follow their lead. The woman at the counter showed us how to place the feathers in the pastry around a hollow in the top where one would then set the large, hollow chocolate egg. When fully constructed (as you will see) it looks a bit like an egg sitting in a feathered nest.
Breakfast today brought such excitement! Our children were eager to wake up and sink their teeth in to the Mona. I made sure to cut the cake/nest into equal pieces, saving one full quarter for Señor Aventura.
"Hmmmm... it tastes like a whole wheat sweet bread with a frosting."
"My favorite part was the chocolate egg."
(Really, who couldn't love a flamboyant, feathery chocolate egg?)
Felices Lunes de Pascua!