Friday, December 02, 2011

Sweet justice

There is a  tradition of throwing sweets to children from floats during the various parades that take place in Spain; it happens during fiestas and also when the Three Kings parade on the 6th January. There is of course always the potential for a badly aimed sweet, especially a hard one, to hit someone and cause injury. No doubt it has happened many times over the years.

In fact, I read in the Telegraph newspaper this morning about a lady who was hit in the eye during such a parade in the Huelva province of southern Spain. The lady subsequently made a complaint about Balthazar, who threw the sweet, and the case went to court.

The magistrate was very clever, he ruled that it was not possible to prosecute a foreign dignitary of unknown origin. He went on to say that the court would need to establish the true nationality of Balthazar before the rules of international law could be applied. All that is known is that the three wise men came from the east which of course covers quite a few countries and states.

Although everyone knows that the Three Kings are in fact local people dressed up, the case was brought specifically against Balthazar because the lady obviously did not know the true identity of the person in the costume.

Here in Spain, people seem to be made accountable for their own actions much more so than they are in Britain. If you trip on a pavement here it is because you were not looking where you were going rather than an act of negligence on the council’s part. By the same token, if you go to watch the Three Kings parade, you expect them to throw sweets so you either apply a bit of caution or you stay well back out of harms way.

The magistrate was right, it would be sad if the practice of throwing sweets to children during parades was banned. Actually, I doubt that there will be much sweet throwing this year in cash strapped municipalities like Bigastro.

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