debtOr for decades, they’ve engaged in constant migration as residents look to jobs and opportunities beyond their settlements in southern Spain. But Peña Zafra de Abajo’s dwindling population may have found a peculiar strategy to fight back.
“When I pitched the naked calendar idea, people said, ‘Are you crazy?'” said Lucia Nicholas, who heads the settlement’s association of residents. “But I saw it as a way to put it on the map and show off the settlement of 16 residents.”
Slowly, divisive thoughts gained momentum. By September, enough residents wanted to participate, and the three-day photo shoot began. The result is his 2023 calendar that skillfully captures the inhabitants with the landscapes and traditions that have long defined the settlements of Murcia.
For example, in October Nicholas visits the 200-year-old mansion that once belonged to her grandfather, now the only winery in the village. I put pumpkins.
But the undisputed star of the calendar is Pedro Sanchez. At 100 years old, the village’s oldest resident spends December gracefully, shirtless and smiling, dispose of, or wineskin. “He was the first to say yes,” said Nicholas.
Since its launch in October, orders for the €9 calendar have flooded in from all over Spain and even into Mexico. “We sold nearly 400 of his,” says Nicolás. “At first I thought he would order 200 and give away the extra, my motherthey were snapped.
As the news of the calendar rolls in, messages pour in from all over Spain, where rural depopulation threatens more than half of the country. “There were weeks when I didn’t know whether to cry with joy or with sorrow,” she said, citing the many people struggling to stop the collapse of their settlements. “It turns out we’re not the only ones in this situation.”
For the few who still remain in Peña Zafra de Abajo, Calendar’s success is made all the more striking by the quarries that surround the settlement, often leaving the rest of the population exposed to the constant noise and dust of mining activity. We’re fighting clouds, said Nicholas. .
“For us, this was a rebirth,” she added. “We assert that this settlement still exists and is still inhabited.”
Residents have already begun planning the 2024 calendar, enthusiastically pitching ideas ranging from naked manger scenes to tributes to long-defunct rural occupations. “Those who didn’t attend ended up regretting it,” Nicholas said. “We already have a list of people who have signed up [the] next year. ”