FIESTA FUN - A YEAR LONG SPECTACLE
JÁVEA'S FIESTAS ARE A PRODUCT OF THE ZEAL AND PASSION WITH WHICH THE LOCALS PRACTICE THEIR DEEP AND UNSHAKABLE RELIGIOSITY. TO THE CASUAL OBSERVER, IT WOULD SEEM THAT THE JÁVEANS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EVERY EXCUSE TO THROW A PARTY!
Jávea offers a wide range of celebrations which have unfolded over the years, from both the Maritime history and Mediterranean traditions of its people: the chief protagonists in whatever festivals take place throughout the year. Religious and pagan festivals thread through the festive calendar, with one common denominator: the participation of the people. Jávea misses no opportunity to display the open and extroverted character of its inhabitants.
There is at least one fiesta celebrated every month. During the summer months and the Christmas season, there seems to be one each day! Here are some of the important and notable fiestas celebrated in Jávea.
The first month of the year kicks off with the celebration of Los Reyes Magos – The Three Kings on January 5th. Baltazar, Gaspar and Melchior arrive in Jàvea on a fishing boat bearing gifts for numerous excited children. There are two processions; one through the port and a second later in the evening, through the old town to the Placeta del Convent. Before they go to bed, children will leave their polished shoes out to receive the presents left by their majesties.
A weekend festival takes place in the middle of the month in honor of San Antonio Abad, which also features the traditional burning of the pine tree. This is followed by a parade of horses and carts and then the blessing ceremony of domistic animals in Plaza de la Constitución. The month ends with a fiesta in honor of Jávea’s patron saint, San Sebastian with the main feature being the controversial bull-running around the church square.
Carnival highlights the month of February in preparation for the start of Lent. The streets of the old town are filled with colourful and innovative fancy dress costumes for a final night of excess, before the 40 days of abstinence. There are two parades, the first in early evening for the youngsters, whilst the adult parade takes place much later, followed by some vigorous street dancing into the early hours.
The week after Carnival there is a curious ceremony of the Entierro de la Sardina, the burial of the sardine. A sardine is symbolically burned (as well as buried) in this celebration, to atone for any excesses that might have taken place during the Carnival itself.
An Artisan Craft Fair during the middle of April showcases the works of local artists and craftsmen. On the third Sunday of Lent, the image of Jesús Nazareno is brought down from the chapel of Calvario, in solemn procession to the church of San Bartolomé, where it will stay until the end of the festivities. On Good Friday - el viernes santos - the image is carried through the streets of Jávea in another emotional cavalcade to mark this significant event in Christian mythology. And then, at the end of April, the festivities begin. A very important celebration in which you can see, and often join in, a range of both religious and social events, which include dancing in the streets and bull-running.
June is best fiesta time in Jávea, beginning with a sort of beauty and popularity contest, the Proclamation of Queens at the Plaza de la Constitución. The second week sees the start of one of the most important and the most anticpated fiesta of the year, Fiestas of Sant Juan/A celebration of Midsummer. During the 2 week fiesta, there are numerous elaborate processions along the streets of the old town and the days end with fantastic firework displays. Nit dels Focs, celebrated on June 23rd, reminiscent of the ancient tradition of burning old junk, in the magical belief of purifying the body and soul before the summer solstice. The Focs de Sant Joan, which light the streets of the town, are small bonfires over which people leap, one by one, wearing garlands and flowers which are burned when the last fire has been jumped. The night ends with a spectacular “correfocs” that runs through the town, followed by live music until dawn!
The finale of the fiesta is celebrated at midnight on the 24th June with the burning of the foguera (large papier mache statues) and spectacular fireworks to music.
This is our favourite fiesta, its addictive nature and the camaraderie that invites everyone to forget their worries and come together to celebrate whatever it is they want to believe in, whether it be the birth of John the Baptist or an observance of Midsummer.
The month closes out with an International Festival, an event that captures the diversity of Jávea's population, the culinary specialities of 20 nations and to experience their traditions and cultures. The festival also includes music and dancing performances by local and international artists.
July belongs to the Jávea port area, and it starts with a week-long pilgrimage to the Virgen del Rocio. One week later, a procession of fishing boats sets out to sea carrying an image of the Virgin Mary to offer flowers out in the middle of the bay. Another week later, the famous re-enactment of the battle between the Moors and Christians takes place on and off shore. This is a must-see for the colorful costumes, the history and the spectacular processions.
More fiesta fun takes place in the port area from the end of August to early September as Jávea celebrates Mare de Deu de Loreto, in honour of the Virgin of Loreto, who is said to have once spared the lives of Jávea fishermen caught in a storm out at sea. Masses, processions, bull running, flower offerings, parties, live music and an amazing aquatic firework display on 8th September, which officially conclude the festivities.
October celebrates of The Day of the Valencian Community, commemorating the liberation of Valencia from the Moors by King James I of Aragon in 1238. Nightly fireworks displays lead up to this important fiesta.
December starts with the Fiesta of Santa Lucia on 10th December. In the morning a procession will walk up to the Ermita, followed by a celebratory Mass with chocolate and churros (sweet pastries) that are handed out. Although Jáveans celebrate in January (during the feast of the Three Kings), this month is nevertheless special - A giant nativity scene is set up in the old town, and colourful lanterns light up the town.