Los Quintos of 2010 getting ready for the changeover by painting designated surfaces
Dear citizens of the world,
Although it might not seem like it, we are living in times of relative peace. European nations such as Spain and France gave up manditory military service at the end of the 20th century.
However, traditions in Spain die hard.
Los Quintos are the people who are turning 18 over the coming year. In the past, they would be weighed and measured in the city hall for their military service. Those found to be too short or too fat might be pardoned. In general, most would have to go and the unlucky ones would end up oversees in Western Sahara.
The name Quintos comes from 1/5. Spanish Kings in the 15th century ordered that one-fifth of all men "Contribute Blood" by doing military service. They did not beat around the bush when they gave it that name...
Los Quintos have changed in name and form in modern times. Now it is often written with a K as Kintos (Email and SMS texting's influence on Spanish spelling). There is also the politicaly correct female version with an A = Kintas.
Spain has adopted a volunteer army, much like the United Statesian Army system. But the "comming of age" celebrations continue.
Kintas are the girls from the village who are becoming adults.
Certain walls, and parts of walls, are designated for the Quintos to paint their names. The white background with red letters was for 2009. Next year the background is blue. On the 31st the Quintos will paint their names on the new surface.
The big hand-over ceremony is a bonfire on the New Years Eve where everyone gets drunk. I am 18! Now I can get smashed!
There are many roles the Quintos play throughout the year during the many micro and macro festivals, but one in particular was a bit shocking:
Until only a few years ago, the Quintos played a gruesome role in the Carnival celebrations in February. They used to hang a rope across the main plaza, attach chickens by their feet so the head and body would hang down. Then the Quintos would whack them to death like living piñatas until they were no longer. Some were bothered by the "tradition" and it was stopped.
The chickens were then eaten as part of the festivities.
Now the Quintos can focus on drinking, and selling cheap drinks to raise money to have more parties to get drunk again.
The United Statesian
PS An even more gruesome tradition in another Spanish village has been put to a stop as well. The Quintos used to throw a live goat off the top of the church tower. BBQ goat meat was always on the menu.