The Mallorcan folks are really quite clever people. They certainly were some time ago, let’s say, a hundred years ago. Then, school education was a matter of the upper class and land owners only. Girls did not even enjoy the benefits of a school education. So, people and in particular, country folk were illiterate. They could barely write, and reading, well I think, not so much. They were church goers, though.
In church, the Neules (paper doilies) Christmas decorations were used to simply tell the faithful how many weeks were still to go, plus how many days, until Cuaresma (Lent). As a matter of fact, this Neules calendar is still being used by a large number of Mallorcan parish churches even though most people nowadays are educated and literate. Some of the older ones Pagesos may still find it difficult to read or write anything more elaborate than their own name but there you are.
The way it works is to use larger Neules for the number of weeks left until the first day of Lent, and smaller Neules being used for the additional days. As the ecumenical year progresses towards Cuaresma, Neules are removed one by one to give the congregation an idea of the remaining period getting shorter by the day. Clever, isn’t it?
Cuaresma will start this year on Wednesday, February 22nd, and will continue for 39 days until Saturday, March 31st. Easter Sunday will be April 1st, 2012.
The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: January 15th, 2012. The time was 16:30:13.