The Meaning of Festivals: A Typology
IN 1559, Philip II sent his aposentador (head of household) to Toledo to make preparations for his first formal entry into the city as king and for the entry of his new wife, Isabelle of Valois, one year later1 Similarly, towards the end of 1584 and in the opening days of the next year, Philip II put into motion preparations for his forthcoming long journey through his eastern kingdoms. His aposentador mayor, Don Diego de Espinoza, was sent to Zaragoza to make the royal palaces there fit for the king’s visit and to procure suitable accommodations for the high nobility and the royal counselors “according to the social standing (estado) of each one.”2 Around the same time, the alcalde (a judicial and administrative officer) Valladares, “one of the four judges in the king’s household and court,” was commanded to secure enough provisions for the king’s cortege as it traveled from Madrid to Zaragoza. This was done, as Henry Cock who meticulously chronicled this particular voyage and who deployed in his narrative the usual foreign pejorative representations of Spaniards explained, because “peasants in Spain were inclined to steal and deceive.”3 Simultaneously, Philip II requested that the Council of Aragon await the king’s arrival in Zaragoza, and that Aragonese, Catalan, and Valencian grandees make plans to attend a general gathering at the Cortes at Monzón4 More than a century before, midfifteenth-century chronicles describing the fabulous feasts held in Valladolid in 1428 noted with great elation that the artificial castle built for the pas d’armes hosted by the Infante Don Enrique was the work of an Italian craftsman and cost the extravagant sum of between 12,000 and 15,000 gold florins5
1 Gómez de Castro, Recibimiento que… Toledo hizo á la reina Doña Isabel, 26. Carlota Fernández Travieso, the editor of Gómez de Castro’s Recibimiento shows how the costs of the feast were paid by either the city or civic organizations: “The great artificial arch at the gate of Bisagra was paid by Toledo’s city council; the arch at he gate of Forgiveness (Perdón) by the cathedral chapter, and the arch at the entrance to the square at Zocodover by the silk guild.” See also Horozco, Relaciones históricas toledanas, 181.
2 Cock, Relación del viaje hecho (1585), 9. See chapter 5.
3 Ibid., 9. I also explore these pejorative references to conditions in Spain in chapter 5.
4 Idem. The events in Zaragoza and Monzón are described in chapter
5 See Alvar García de Santa María, Crónica de Juan II de Castilla in Colección de documentos inéditos para la historia de España, vols. IC and C (Madrid: Real Academia de la Historia, 1891): C, 16. See also my “Festivités, couleurs et symboles du povouir en Castille au XVe siècle. Les celebrations de Mai 1428,” Annales. E.C.S. (1991), 530.