Jaia Corema and her seven legs

Jaia Corema and her seven legs.

03-04-2021Francisca Truyol

Easter traditions in Mallorca are special – I remember the first time I saw a procession in Palma, the white hooded people made me think it was Ku Klux Klan that was out on a protest. I had been in Majorca for several years celebrating Easter when my then 4-year-old daughter came home from daycare at the local kindergarten. She told me they had a special visit from an abuela (grandmother in Spanish) in school that day. “The lady lost a leg” she said.

First, I did not understand what she said but I thought they might have someone visiting to talk about disabilities and that one of the old ladies in the village had a prosthetic leg and that she was showing the kids in kindergarten how it worked. Little did I know, but she seemed happy about the fact that the lady took one leg off. Later that evening when my husband arrived from work, she told him the same story and he thought for a while and said “Ah Jaia Corema!.”

According to Mallorcan Easter tradition, the Jaia Corema is the Lent grandmother with her 7 legs which represent the seven weeks of Lent. Many local schools follow the tradition and prepare an image or even a puppet representing an old lady with seven legs and every Friday they take one leg of f her. When the legs are gone it is Easter. Jaia Corema even has a very popular song, translated from Mallorcan it would be something like this. “Two arms, seven legs, a big nose, a small foot, Grandma Lent is here again.” Kids love the morbidity of the story pulling legs of an old lady. I must say I prefer the tradition of baking and making of the empanadas, especially made for Easter with lamb and peas inside, and the sweet Crespell cookies, before pulling the legs off an old lady.

Some years ago, I inherited a large outdoor oven, the type where you can put a whole suckling pig in and for Easter, we decided to get some people together to make homemade empanadas and crespells. We were 25 people, 7 nationalities and ages from 1 year up to 75. All sitting outside in the garden by a long table making the pies and the cookies. Afterwards we ate some and everyone took some home. Such a lovely memory. The days that we could still be together.

As for the Scandinavians and Easter traditions, we do take the eating seriously just like all the other nationalities. A lot of the food we eat for this holiday is the same as for Christmas. Something you can see on most people’s table during the Easter week is different types of herring and eggs decorated in different ways with prawns, caviar and salmon. We do take the Easter egg hunt very serious – at least in my family. It is a very popular tradition. The eggs should be filled up with small gifts and candy. Scandinavians love their candy and nowadays we have 3 Scandinavian shops apart from the Ikea food section in the Palma area. Chocolate made in Sweden with the brand names Marabou or Cloetta are very popular and we also have the famous Lösgodis. Lösgodis are sweets that you buy by weight and the best sweet shops can carry some +500 different kinds. In Palma, Swedish Stuff just off the Plaza Progresso have the largest selection and they are very well stocked for Easter. An average Swede eats around 15 kg of sweets per year, that leaves us on the top of sugar consuming countries in the world. This to compare with the Spanish numbers that reaches 3 kg per year on average.

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