Xabia : Facts and anecdotesDid you know…that the mona de Pascua“ (Easter Mona) is....
... a centuries-old tradition in the Valencian and Catalan regions? It is possible that the name harks back to the Arabic word „muna“ in the 15th century, a provision or gift, that was paid in kind as a land tax. Here in Xabia, until not long ago, it was made in each household during the Easter Week. The ladies would knead and knead the dough until it had the right consistency and then it would be laid to rest under a multitude of covers and blankets in the matrimonial bed - for many hours, so that the fermented dough would double in size. Once ready, the monas would be taken to one of the 5 or 6 large ovens that were in Javea, since the oven at home was too small to hold all the monas.
The tradition is that this was always gifted - hence the name - by the godparents or the grandparents to the children. In Xabia, they always gave the children a pair of „zapatillas“ as well, flat rubber-soled shoes used for sports, that were usually bought at the La Rulla shoe shop.
Easter was celebrated for at least 3 days (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday ). Family and friends would celebrate it by spending the morning in their „ casita de campo“ and in the evening all would go to the beach for a picnic with the monas. They would carry these in a small basket that the grandparents gave them. These were handcrafted baskets made at home from esparto grass or palm leaves. At the beach the children would play games, hop with skipping ropes, toss spinning tops and light fireworks.
I remember that the most beautiful mona was always taken as a present to a family in mourning for the recent loss of a family member ( for it was frowned upon to make monas while in mourning). A gesture of solidarity towards family and friends !
Happy Easter to all!
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