There was a ceremony in the square last Sunday, a kind of 'Jura de Bandera' for civilians. I had never heard of such a thing before. They seemed to be mostly young people, and they made a weekend of it, as they were out in evening dress on Friday.
It turns out not to be such a new idea, though I don't know how old it is. The ceremony I am familiar with was carried out at the end of miltary service, and consisted of the soon-to-ex-soldiers parading around the barracks square, filing past and touching the national flag, listening to the colonel, the captain, the sergeant and some local politician droning on interminably about duty and country, and swearing to be eternally available to the nation in time of need before going off to get drunk and trying to forget the whole ghastly business.
In any case I assume it's for the young. But it looked just like the military ceremony it imitates, and there were soldiers there, a military band, and groups marching in formation with rifles and machine guns. One of them had a saw, rather than a gun, in a holster on his back. Why, I wonder? In fact I have just seen there was a whole group with tools- axes and picks- as well as the saw. From an engineering regiment, perhaps.
Military service was finally abolished in Spain about 12 years ago, so the patriotic youth no longer get the chance to swear allegiance to the flag while dressing up and having their photo taken for the local newspaper. The girls never did, of course, nor did those who were not suited or who found a way to slide out of it. I haven't found much on the origins of the civilian version, but I understand it is quite old. WHat surprises me it that there should be any demand at all for such a thing. But there is, and the human tapestry just got richer.