Last Monday was Lunes de Aguas in Salamanca!
Lunes de Aguas, an exclusively Salamancan holiday, dates back to the sixteenth century. King Philip II of Spain issued an edict that called for the prostitutes in Salamanca to be taken out of town during Lent. On Ash Wednesday, the prostitutes left their brothel house and were moved across the Tormes river. On the Monday after Easter, the man who was in charge of the prostitutes, Father Luke (also called Father Whores), led the students in bringing the prostitutes back into the city by boat. The whole city gathered by the river, drinking, eating hornazo* and dancing, to welcome them back after the Lenten season.
*empanada filled with chorizo, pork, and jamón, and typically eaten on Lunes de Aguas
Today, the celebration of Lunes de Aguas still exists, only minus the prostitutes. Classes and businesses shut down after 2 p.m. and everyone heads to the Tormes river. Only in Spain will you find holidays the celebrate the return of prostitutes. But hey, we’re not complaining….no school! Liz, Polly, Lily, Alexa and I met up in the Plaza Mayor after lunch and met all of our friends at the river. There were people ev.er.y.where. We got to bond with the entire city of Salamanca. I can’t even accurately describe the atmosphere because it was absolute insanity. Definitely one of the best days that I’ve had in my life, and made me love Salamanca even more. Here is a video so you can get a better sense of the fiesta salamantina!