The August festivities

The August festivities are the most important and most traditional in the town of Albalat. Its origins are centered on religious celebrations. They take place between August 15 and 17, among the events highlights, on August 17, the procession of the Holy Christ of the Bells -center of the festival- which follows the model of the Valencian Baroque processions, and is structured following the outline of the history of salvation.

But from the religious ingredient, other more playful aspects have been added, such as the mascletás and fireworks castles, the verbenas and parades, fundamental in any festival, in which stands out the festival of the lantern or lantern of melon, also various recreational, sporting and cultural activities are scheduled for all audiences.

Lantern festival or melon lanterns (farolet)

It highlights the recovery of an old custom, now become a party: the festival of the lantern or lanterns of melon or also colloquially called farolet. The tradition of making melon lanterns is recovered, making a parade through the village accompanied by the “dolçaina” and “tabalet”, an act in which all the children of Albalat de la Ribera participate.

A small watermelon is emptied to make decorated lanterns, drawing on the skin either the more traditional elements such as the sun, the moon, the stars and a scale, or other more contemporary and varied drawings, inside a lit candle is placed -which today is often replaced by a led light- and some string handles are made to be able to walk them through the streets of the village.

The procession of the Virgin Mary in August

It has been celebrated since time immemorial, the festival was organized by festive women who were chosen from one year to the next, they went to the procession accompanied by girls dressed as farm workers (typical Valencian costume) carrying the traditional basil, a custom that today has been lost. For some years now the dances and dances of the Segreny group accompany the procession, which concludes with the music band of the Musical and Cultural Athenaeum of Albalat de la Ribera.

The procession of the “Santísimo Cristo de las Campanas” (The Holy Christ of the Bells)

Every August 17 at nine o’clock in the evening takes place in our town the most important manifestation of faith and devotion of the year, it is the procession of the Holy Christ of the Bells.

The origin is remote in the eighteenth century, 1793 is the first document where the celebration of the feast of Christ appears within the festivities of Grace, which take place at the end of the rice harvest, which were dedicated to the Saints of the Stone, Saint Roque and the souls in purgatory.

The year 1882 was dedicated on August 17 as the feast of Christ, along with the Virgin Mary of Agost on August 15 and Saint Roque on August 16, as patron saints.

The procession was accompanied by the biblical characters and saints, the clothes were rented at the house of Insa of Valencia, since our procession was a replica of the Corpus Christi of the city of Valencia.

The vestments were personified by devotees of the town, but over time it was losing enough strength, until 1966, thanks to Mr. Eduard Sarrió, the reform was made as we have it now. It was a very thorough work to find the right costumes for each character and that people were appropriate to represent them.

So our procession is organized as follows, can be divided into three groups:

Heads the procession a few dances, danced by the group of dances the Segreny, which give the processional cross with the devotees of the people with candles . Then the first group Adam and Eve, composed of several characters that ends with the prophets, the New Testament represented by the apostles and evangelists with the patron saints of the people, are about 75 characters, and the third group composed of the bearers of the platforms of Christ. These bearers consist of four relays of sixteen people, which with the leader are 65. They wear colorful clothing that gives them category and showiness.

Sixteen bearers carry the image on their shoulders, with a relay at their side, the others form two groups of 16, some with lighted torches and the others with the coats of arms of the old families of the town. The image of Christ is adorned with more than one hundred sticks of nardos that gives it devotion, since it is majestic and inspires respect. After the ecclesiastical presidency, it ends with the band of the Musical and Cultural Athenaeum of our town.

A jewel of a procession that is a source of pride for all of us who feel that we are children of Albalat de la Ribera. It is undoubtedly one of the most important cultural and traditional events of the town, where the popular contribution is fundamental.

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