Here in Madrid, life is a great deal calmer. It’s Father’s Day, you know. Why March 19th? Very simple. Today is the Feast of Saint Joseph, and Joe, as the father of Jesus, seems the obvious choice. The thing is, if you go by the gospel, Joseph is not the actual sire. The Holy Ghost got in the way. But Joseph being the understanding soul that he was, accepted his role as custodial guardian, which considering the kid would grow up to be the Messiah, was probably all right by him. In fact, if you where ever wondering where the name Pepe came from, and you probably weren’t, it’s José. And if you were ever wondering why Pepe is a nickname for Jose, which you probably weren’t but by this time are a little intrigued, it’s from the initials P.P. standing for “Padre Putativo”, in other words, “reputed father”. Honest to God. So, after further thought, maybe celebrating Father’s Day after a man who clearly had been stripped of this honor is a little questionable, but then again, this is the same country that picked December 28th, which honors the innocent children slaughtered by King Herod, as their day for playing practical jokes. Just another one of those twists you find here.
By the way, Spain’s first consititution was passed on this day in 1812, which is why it was popularly known as “La Pepa”. It was one of the most progressive documents of its day, but it didn’t last long. Two yars later, the new king, Fernando VII, immediately had it revoked and returned the country to the good old days of absolute monarchy…it was a decision that would have disastrous effects on Spain. Next year will mark the 200th anniversary of its creation.