The Sant Vicenç pancaritat pilgrimage-picnic in Muro on Easter Monday has acquired a reputation for being an excuse for youthful drinking. Unlike most other post-Easter celebrations, Muro's pancaritat also attracts significant numbers of young people from outside the municipality.
Muro has a bylaw that prohibits the drinking of alcohol in the streets, but as the local police discovered last year, it lacked the means to make fines stick. Many of the 175 people who were fined during the 2017 celebration claimed that they hadn't been drinking alcohol. And when it came to processing the penalties, they had to be dropped because of insufficient evidence.
This year, the police will have the means - a device that uses infrared to determine whether a cup or any other container has alcohol in it.
On Monday there will be 32 officers on duty - reinforcements will be drafted in from other municipalities. José Juan Aguiló, the councillor for the police and for fiestas, says that the town hall isn't seeking to raise revenue from fines but wants to deter indiscriminate street drinking, which is in any event banned under local ordinance. "We are not trying to wage war on people who are partying. We want things to be peaceful, so we are attempting to prevent excessive drinking."
There are specific areas for drinking and partying. The problem in Muro is that a number of people go on Easter Monday and drink anywhere. They leave mess behind and arouse numerous complaints from residents. But even the designated party zone has caused an issue. Consequently, there can now no longer be makeshift bars in the streets, as used to be the case.
* The pancaritat (pa amb caritat - bread with charity) goes back to mediaeval times. The poor were given bread at Pentecost (Whitsun). The date was subsequently changed and the first Sunday after Easter became the "day of charity". The best known of these events nowadays is Palma's Day of the Angel (in celebration of the Guardian Angel) at Bellver Castle. Clearly not all villages have their pancaritats on Sunday. Another notable one is that of Crestatx, Sa Pobla, which is always on the Tuesday after Easter.
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