Fiestas in the province of Alicante
The fiestas are the rupture and transgression of social normality on the Costa Blanca. We have an infinite number of possibilities to experience this rupture: fancy dress, harquebus noise, gunpowder, music, bous al carrer or the sea, fire, medieval cantatas or processions, are some of the options that we, the people of Alicante, have to celebrate life every year.
The traditional and popular pilgrimage called “La Peregrina” to the Santa Faz farmhouse, in whose monastery is kept the canvas on which, according to tradition, the face of Jesus is imprinted, is held on the Thursday following Easter Sunday. Thousands of people from all over the province of Alicante flock to the neighbouring town of Sant Joan d’Alacant, occupying the road and shopping at the Fira i Porrat, which is held in the vicinity of the church that houses the sacred image of the face of Christ. Orito, near Monforte del Cid, is the destination of another multitudinous pilgrimage, this time on the occasion of the feast of San Pascual Bailón.
Not to be forgotten, the Misteri d’Elx, declared to be of International Tourist Interest, is an unforgettable experience, halfway between religiosity and spectacle.
However, if you want to feel the true essence of Alicante, we recommend several festivities:
Moros y Cristianos
The Moors and Christians are the most unique festivities on the Costa Blanca-Alicante and recreate the historical wars between Moors and Christians during the Middle and Modern Ages.
Nowadays, Moors and Christians festivals are celebrated in more than 60 towns on the Costa Blanca with splendid parades of the comparsas dressed in colourful costumes, embassies, alardos and retretas, among others. The calendar extends throughout the year.
The parades of the troops, both Moorish and Christian, the embassies or the harquebusier fights between the sides, are the most colourful and common elements of these unique festivities, where those held in Alcoy and Villajoyosa have been declared of International Tourist Interest.
Hogueras de San Juan
(Bonfires of San Juan)
Fire is the great animator of the fiestas on the Costa Blanca through its bonfires, fallas, fireworks and firecrackers or “fatxos”.
If we think of the city of Alicante, we automatically think of the Bonfires, its festival par excellence and declared a Festival of International Tourist Interest, which immerses the city in a few days of joy that correspond to its main festivities. Originally, objects that were no longer useful were burnt.
Les Fogueres de Sant Joan are held from 20 to 24 June to celebrate the summer solstice. They are a display of plastic beauty, irony, colour and music that spreads its joy through the streets and squares of the city, which are dressed in humour with these monuments.
On these dates you will find parades with music and belleas from each district parading in traditional Alicante wedding dress.
More than 200 monuments are planted in the city worthy of observing and enjoying, and on the 24th of June, the Nit del Foc, the highlight of the festivities, the fireworks palm tree is launched from the top of the spectacular Benacantil mountain, followed by a firework that lights the City Hall Bonfire and the act of the “Cremà” begins, in which fire consumes the bonfire monuments accompanied by the popular “banyà”.
From the 18th to the 24th of June, the traditional mascletá (fireworks display) takes place at midday.
After the big days of the festival, the fireworks competition takes place from the Cocó beach, at the end of the Postiguet, and continues until the 29th, the day of San Pedro.
Easter and Carnival
The celebration of Holy Week is a singular festive moment in the calendar of the Costa Blanca which has unique and attractive elements.
Orihuela has a great tradition in its Salzillo’s pasos or in the curious figure known as “la diablesa” by Bussy who is denied entry to Christian temples.
Crevillent is another town that celebrates its Holy Week with the carvings of Mariano Benlliure and the renowned choirs singing religious chants from the 17th and 18th centuries.
In the city of Alicante, it opens with Palm Sunday, which gives way to a week of processions, one of the most emotional and popular being the one that on Holy Wednesday runs through the narrow, steep streets of the Santa Cruz neighbourhood, in the heart of the old quarter, with the Cristo Cautivo, the Cristo Expirado, the Descendimiento and the Dolorosa. On Holy Thursday the Procession of Silence takes place, in which the most valuable images of Alicante’s Holy Week appear, such as the Christ of the Good Death (Bussy, 17th century) and the Virgin of the Anguish (Salzillo, 18th century). On Good Friday, the procession of the Veronica takes place along the Esplanade and on Easter Sunday, “El Encuentro” (The Gathering).
Many families gather to celebrate the resurrection with the delicious mona de pascua, an Easter dessert.
This week, you can also taste the typical sweets: torrijas, doughnuts and fritters.
If you love big parties, music and fun, the carnivals in the province are made for you. For a whole week the streets are filled with costumes, parades, music, activities, workshops and exhibitions.
The act of Don Carnal and Doña Cuaresma is performed; these festivities are very much celebrated in the city of Alicante, where they include the “Saturday ramblero” with a costume parade and music in the open air, and the wake and burial of the sardine.
As you can see, Alicante is a very special province with festivals worth experiencing. If you want to discover the heart of the Alicante tradition, these festivities are a must on your holidays.