FESTIVAL AND TRADITION IN SPAIN “LA ASUNCIÓN DE LA VIRGEN”

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In Spain, hundreds of towns from all the autonomous communities celebrate their patron saint festivities on August 15, being one of the most festive and important dates in Spain, around La Asuncion de la Virgen.

During these days the streets of all the towns are filled with music, traditional dances, religious acts, regional costumes, historical representations, gastronomy, bullfights, parades with giant bubbleheads, fireworks, centuries-old traditions, canoes that raffle dams and rapids, gigantic basils, manifestations of ephemeral and participatory art, performances of pure syncretism, bloodless battles between Moors and Christians, spectacular costumes that Sorolla fell in love with, miraculously preserved medieval lyrical sacred dramas and thousands of free acts: music, dance, theater, etc.

But, why is it that almost all Spanish towns start their patron saint festivities on August 15 or some special festival?

La Asuncion de la Virgen has to do with this celebration that was promulgated from Rome by Pope Sergio I, a tradition that celebrates the ascent of the mother of Jesus to heaven since the seventh century; it is also believed that its origin is pagan, due to of the celebrations dedicated to the harvests. In the twelfth century, Pope Pius XII defined it as a dogma of faith.

Sevilla

There are many commemorations that take place in Sevilla and its provinces, the most important being that of the patron saint of the archdiocese, “La Virgen de los Reyes”

La Virgen de los Reyes

Every August 15, after several weeks of cults, the procession is carried out and, as tradition dictates, at eight in the morning the Virgin appears at the Puerta de Palos to the delight of the faithful, who, as tradition dictates, ask her for something to his employer. The sober and short route where we can see the members of the association of faithful of the Virgin, the Sacramental of the Tabernacle and the members of the City Council. The step is adorned with spikenards as tradition dictates and classical marches are the musical accompaniment that accompanies the entire procession. Especially emotional are the moments of the four corners of the Cathedral, the entrance and exit. The Virgin, as tradition marks, is accompanied by the army and at the end of the procession they parade proudly in front of the Virgin.

There are many stories about the origin of the Virgen de los Reyes, for some it was made by angels, in reality it is a medieval sculpture from the 13th century ordered to be made by Fernando III after a dream and with it he entered the city of Sevilla as it appears on the walls of the Royal Parish of San Pablo, Magdalena vulgar.

A tradition of so many centuries of history keeps numerous curiosities that make it unique, and that is that the programming for this August 15 has been unchanged since time immemorial:

Every year the silver step of the Virgen de los Reyes carries the same floral decoration. This is made up of a thousand tuberose rods that have been in charge of placing the “twigs” (young children) throughout the night.

In addition to the different Eucharists that are celebrated at dawn in the Cathedral, at 9:30 and after a procession around the exterior of the main temple, the seasonal mass is celebrated in the Jubilee Altar.

The Carrancano children are responsible for opening the procession of the Virgen de los Reyes on August 15, hence its name: “start” the procession. They dress over pants and red albs that reach their knees. The most characteristic element is the helmet they wear on their heads, which was created to protect them from candle wax in the 17th century.

On August 14 at 9:00 p.m., the vespers concert is held in the Plaza Virgen de los Reyes by the Municipal Symphonic Band of Seville. In this concert, pieces dedicated to Spain are performed, such as the Petite Suite by Claude Debussy or the Spanish Symphony by Édouard Lalo.

There are numerous extraordinary exits that this image has made throughout its career. History books record that in 1521 he had already crossed the bridge of boats to pray for the end of the drought.

After the procession, the Sevillians go to have breakfast in the cafeterias and bars in the area of Constitucion Avenue and the Arenal neighborhood. Being a public holiday, all families take the opportunity to spend a spectacular day through the streets of this incredible city. To end this special day for Sevillians, it is tradition to buy the so-called cutouts of the Holy Form at the Encarnacion convent.

Cadiz

  • Sanlucar de Barrameda in Cadiz. Party that is lived with the five senses. Calle Ancha in the Barrio Bajo and Plaza de La Paz in the Barrio Alto are covered with carpets made of salt, on which the procession of Caridad Coronada passes, which lasts until midnight. From August 16 to 18, at sunset and taking advantage of the low tide, horse races on the beach -regulated since 1845, although they were born at the beginning of the 19th century-, from 1,500 to 1,800 meters of fine, wet sand, between Bajo de Guia and the tip of the Holy Spirit. In the background, Doñana.

Malaga

  • The Malaga fair, this commemorates that event on the day of the Assumption of Santa Maria to thank the Virgin for the victory in the war where the Catholic Monarchs took the city on August 19 of 1487, a war against the Muslims who had dominated it since the eighth century. So, from the beginning it was a celebration related to religion and also to the military history of Spain.

The first celebration took place on August 15 of 1491 with a simple procession from the Cathedral to the Church of Santiago and then mass was celebrated. Little by little, the festival was transformed from a purely religious event to a party with many popular entertainment activities.

Today the Malaga Fair is celebrated from August 16th to 23rd before the La Tomatina – Giancarlo Vita festival and is divided into two celebration zones, and therefore it is said that in Malaga there are two fairs: the “Feria by day”, in the center of the city, and the “Night Fair” in the Cortijo de Torres.

 Some of its activities include fireworks, horse shows, Andalusian music and music from all over the world, artist exhibitions in museums, a flamenco dance festival, activities for children and families, and even sports such as paddle surfing and water polo.

Valencia

Holiday in the Cathedral of Valencia being this epicenter of the festivities. Starting at 9:30 a.m. transferring the image of the Dormition of Mary from the temple of Los Milagros to the Cathedral of Valencia. At 7:00 p.m., the inversion path is made so that the image of the Virgen de la Asunción returns to its temple accompanied in its procession by music from Tabalet and Dolcaina, a tradition since 1352.

The bells of the Cathedral are turned by hand, at 9:00 a.m. the mass is celebrated with the Cardinal Archbishop who presides over the singing of Lauds. The bells interpret the song of honor to the Virgin of the Asunción that has been doing since the 17th century.

  • In the city of Elche the well-known “Mystery of Elche” is experienced. A sacred-lyrical drama that recreates the Dormition, Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin Mary. It is declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

On the 14th, what is known as “La Vespra” is celebrated in Elche’s Mystery and on August 15th, “La Festa” is celebrated. Elche celebrates in the Basilica of Santa Maria from August 11 to 13 the general rehearsals of the Mystery of Elche.

  • In the region of Betera there is a Guinness record festivity for its giant “alfàbuegues”. This festival, Alfàbegues de Betera, consists of an offering to the Assumption of Mary that is made with giant specimens of basil plants. A party celebrated in the morning of August 15 and that fills Betera with the color of confetti and the aroma of basil. The whole town is partying, a major party. The Feast of the Assumption is the oldest and most solemn of those that the Catholic Church celebrates in honor of Mary, the Mother of God.
  • For Cofretes, they are the Major Festivities of the town and there is a great variety of acts, among which the descent of the Virgen de la Soledad stands out, in procession from Calvary, from the Ermita de la Soledad to the San Jose Obrero church. They also have a cavalcade with a parade-contest of floats, festivals, concerts, shows and a medieval market.
  • Ayora celebrates the festival of La Asunción. Within the festival program of Ayora, several events are scheduled during this day in honor of Our Lady of the Assumption, such as mass, mascleta, parade and verbena at night.

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