What's In A name?
The village church was packed to bursting on Sunday. The occasion was Las Comuniones, the first communion for around a dozen boys and girls, who have been preparing for this day for the past twelve months at least. And so they presented themselves, the little girls in their brand new (and even in these harsh economic times), expensive dresses, the little boys in their naval officers’ uniforms, complete with lashings of gold braid. I have not yet been able to establish why it should be, but the naval uniform appears to be de rigueur for boys making their first communion. And of course, with them not just mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, but also grandmas and grandads, aunts and uncles, cousins and close family friends, each and every one in their finery. This being Spain, the mass proceeded to the accompaniment of an underlying hubbub of chatter as people caught up with news of what had happened since last they met, how wonderful the children looked, how much it reminded people of their own first communion, and doubtless a host of other topics, until the priest had to ask for silence and respect, at which point the church fell quiet for a couple of minutes until the chat started all over again. I’ve written previously of the importance of nicknames (apodos) in the village in view of the focus on the names of Frigiliana’s patron saints and virgin, indeed with the preference for different manifestations of the Virgin Mary (Nuestra Señora de la:) Concepción, Purificación, Encarnación, Anunciación, Asunción, Rosario, Pilar, Carmen, Victoria etc, popular saints - José, Francisco, Pablo, Felipe, Juan, Santiago, Marco and the like, or other biblical figures; Miguel Ángel, Gabriel, Moisés and the like. Things are changing though. On Sunday, not a single one of these names featured in the roll call of new full members of the church. Instead we had names like, Gema, Vanesa, Laura, Lucrecia, Ricardo, Roberto, Damian. It reminds me of the remark made many years ago by a friend who was a social worker with the elderly; “I shall know that the time has come to retire when I find a Wayne and a Tracy in my caseload.