Why is a picnic of Ibérico sausage meat pie (hornazo) enjoyed in the Holm Oak meadows on Water Monday (Lunes de Agua), which is celebrated not only in the city of Salamanca, but also throughout the entire province?
The history of Water Monday (the Monday after the Sunday following Easter) dates back to the times of Philip II of Spain, in the 16th Century. It was upon Philip’s arrival in Salamanca to celebrate his engagement to Mary I of England that he was amazed and overwhelmed by the life that was being led in the city of Salamanca. Well beyond the prestige of its university, at the time a tremendous amount of students populated the streets of the city, always in search of a good time, and accompanying them were prostitutes, priests, all sorts of corrupt and decadent individuals and a multitude of characters dedicated to the good life and its consequent habits.
Philip II of Spain was, however, an earnest and devout Catholic young man who was not particularly inclined to partake in the pleasures of carnal love, hence he felt himself in the obligation to forbid prostitutes from entering the city during the observance of Lent, this in order to insure that the ambience of the city would be pious and that of a spiritual retreat so as to properly celebrate the religious period. It was also during this time that Father Lucas (popularly known as Father Prostitute) was in charge of taking the prostitutes to the other side of the river to pass the Lent period far away from the city centre. Once the religious period had come to its end and the prostitutes had returned to the city, he was also in charge of receiving them, along with the hundreds of admirers that were awaiting their return on the banks of the Tormes River, celebrating a grand picnic with Hornazo (Ibérico sausage meat pie) and, we imagine, with a good amount of wine to wash it all down.
Currently this tradition is still celebrated on the Monday that follows Easter. It is quite typical for families and friends to gather in the meadows to enjoy a picnic of Hornazo, and not only in the city of Salamanca, but in practically all of the provinces’ towns and villages, including, of course, Guijuelo.
Nowadays the Hornazo is a sort of light pasty crust pie, which is made with wine and anisette or local firewater and stuffed with sausage meats. Each baker and each home has its own secret recipe, although there are always three very special ingredients in all of them that hold the starring roles: Ibérico Chorizo, Ibérico Ham and Ibérico Loin all come together to make up the stuffing, hence overflowing with Ibérico flavour (please forgive the repetition, although it is worth repeating).
FISAN invites you to join us in this delicious age-old tradition of our lands, hoping you will thoroughly enjoy a “good roll in the hay”!!!!!