March 18, 2013 at 12:48 PM
This past weekend was Granada’s famous “Fiesta de la Primavera” — a party that is, in some ways, comparable to Penn State’s State Patty’s Day.
Locals and visitors from near and far make their way to the “botellódromo,” the only area where it is legal to drink outside in Granada, to celebrate the start of spring. This year, the party was celebrated a few days before the actual first day of the new season.
Just like State Patty’s Day, some locals work to combat it while many of the young people look forward to the giant party in the street.
This year, the local papers are estimating about 20,000 people attended the fiesta, which is about the same size crowd as the event has drawn in recent years.
According to Ideal, (www.ideal.es) a local newspaper, this year the police were cracking down on underage drinking and trying different methods to prevent it during the party. The drinking age in Spain is 18.
The paper also reported that the police said the event went well and was calmer this year than other years. They reported that there were no major incidents.
I made my way down to the fiesta after lunch on Friday to check it out.
Everyone was there to have a good time and drinking (it is a drinking holiday, after all). People were standing everywhere with their groups of friends, making drinks and enjoying the sun.
Many people were singing or laughing with their friends and were dressed in festive outfits — some people even had matching shirts that seemed to be made for the event. People flooded the area, making it almost impossible to move once you were in one spot and blocking traffic for a part of the day.
I definitely noticed a larger police presence on Friday around Granada, especially near the botellódromo, than on a typical day.
Spain’s drinking culture is very different than America’s. Here, people drink to enjoy it and for the social aspect instead of with having their only goal be getting drunk, which is more popular at American universities.
Now, at the Fiesta de la Primavera, this was completely different. When I walked by it at night, there seemed to be many people who were intoxicated and there were bottles on the ground and trash everywhere.
Some adults think it’s embarrassing for the town and others are bothered by the noise or the trash the party leaves behind throughout the city. Most of the partygoers think it’s just a good time.
It is interesting to me how many aspects of these two drinking holidays in different countries — the Fiesta de la Primavera in Granada and State Patty’s Day at Penn State — share many of the same aspects and similar efforts to keep it under control.