The festival calendar of Mariola Mountain extends throughout the year from the Three Kings Cavalcade of Alcoy, considered the oldest in Spain, until the feast of St. Lucia in Banyeres de Mariola in the month of December. Undoubtedly, the Moors and Christians, again with Alcoy as an international reference, constitute the essence of the festivities while dances and religious ceremonies hold the most popular celebrations.
The festivities in honor of the Virgin is one of the most important tourist attractions of Agres. However, we should also mention other unusual events:
- Celebrations of Pi (the pine tree) or 40 hours: the weekend prior to Ash Wednesday is held the pagan holiday that dates back to medieval tradition. The neighborhood, at the approach of Lent, took the authority of the town for 40 hours to whatever they wanted to, without any prohibition. While the Lords marked its territory with trees, people used to destroy one of them so they could not delimit their territory. It is possibly the oldest festivity of Agres.
- Celebrations in honor of St. Michael: they take place the latest weekend in September and are based on a religious tradition. They are dedicated to the patron saint of the town and are taking its glory back after its recovery twenty years ago.
- Festivals in honor of the Virgin Mary: according to the story, the Virgin Mary appeared to a shepherd in the interior of the castle of Agres back in 1484. Tradition says that this image had run away from a fire declared at the Church of Saint Mary of Alicante. The main celebration dates are on 1, 6, 7, 8 and 9 September and attracts thousands of pilgrims coming from all over Spain. Also, every Sunday during the month are made pilgrimages. The highlight of the celebrations is the Embassy of the shepherd, the 7th, when a pastor tells what happened in 1484 in the same place.
- Representation of the appearance of Our Lady of the Castle: This theatrical performance is one of the most famous cultural events of Agres and takes place the latest Friday and Saturday in August. The function relives the life of the people and their customs at the time of the appearance of the Virgin Mary, that is, in 1484.
- Pilgrimages in honor of the Virgin Mary: held every Sunday in September.
- Moors and Christians festivities declared of international tourist interest. They commemorate historical events that took place in the thirteenth century with spectacular parades, music and fireworks. The official schedule includes on 21, 22 and 23 April, however some years dates are altered, as in 2014 when they will be from 2 to 5 May. So you can confirm the exact dates in this website or at the tourist information office of Alcoy.
- Procession of the Three Wise Kings: declared of National Tourist Interest. When the sun goes down in January 5th, the Three Kings make a very solemn entry in Alcoy to the rhythm of camels. The parade includes musicians, carriers of torches, shepherds and emissaries going up long ladders to access the balconies of the houses and deliver gifts to the children. The parade, considered the oldest in Spain, overflows enthusiasm and actually achieves magic seizes every corner of the city.
- Tirisiti Bethlehem: immaterial asset of cultural interest. The proximity of the Christmas holidays is the best announcer for the staging of Bethlehem Tirisiti. This is an original puppet theater that encompasses customs and holidays of the past.
- Pilgrimage of Our Lady of Lilies: declared Provincial Tourist Interest. It is dedicated to the patron saint, the Virgin of the Lilies, and calls to the sanctuary of Font Roja thousands of people from Alcoi who go on pilgrimage. The event is usually held on the third Sunday of September in the beautiful scenery of Carrascal that is filled with party and cordiality. The festival commemorates a miraculous event occurred on 21 August 1653 when they found the image of the Virgin Mary printed on the bulbs of some wild lilies.
The festivities take place from 5 to 8 August in honor of the Divine Savior, the Divine Aurora and Saint Roch. In addition, other festivities in the town are: St. Cecilia (November 22), the pilgrimage to Saint Anthony (in January) and Our Lady of Light (in May), the feast of the Three Kings (with the procession and Ambassador acts), and celebration of the Women Workers (in March).
Banyeres de Mariola
- Moors and Christians festivities in honor of St George: declared of national tourist interest, usually held 22 to 25 April.
- Celebrations in honor of St. Mary Magdalene: held throughout the month of July with various events such as concerts, sports or medieval fair. Also, every three years hosts the representation of the “Legend of Saint George, the dragon and the princess” which brings together over two hundred actors.
- Relic Festivity: is held the first weekend of September and gets back the two festive days of the Moors and Christians in April.
- Feast of Santa Lucia: the weekend closest to December 13, the town commemorates the patron saint of paper sector. Along with this festival the contest of paper dresses is held every two years .
Additionally, Banyeres de Mariola has other celebrations among its streets and neighborhoods.
- Moors and Christians fiestas in honor of Saint Blaise: declared of National Tourist Interest, take place from 2 to 5 February. Parades, morning calls, fireworks and music are the essence of the earlier Moors and Christians festivities in the year.
- Summer festivities to honor St. Augustine: 22 to 28 August are held several events featuring musical accompaniment of dolçaina (a kind of flute) and tabal (a kind of drum). The traditional dances, danced at the Town Hall Square every night from 23 to 27, recall the ancient dances of the town.
- Other events: the Handicraft and Traditions Show (the third week of October), the Easter Fair (from Good Friday to Easter Monday) or the Book Fair (around April 23) are other milestones in the festival and cultural calendiar of Bocairent, without leaving aside many popular celebrations in neighborhoods and churches.
Festivities and celebrations occur throughout the year in Cocentaina as the festivities of Moors and Christians in August or the festivities of Our Lady of the Miracle in April, among others. However, the All Saints Trade Fair, declared of national tourist interest, is which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the town every year around November 1st. In addition, markets and traditions completed an extensive program when population and visitors can enjoy music, the fervour of a town, illusion, tradition and joy.
- Traditional market: from early morning each Thursday and around the palace, a medieval market takes place. It is known as being one of the most important markets held in the region for the exceptional quality of its goods, fruit, vegetables and for the existing variety as far as shoe stands and textile goods are concerned. On this day it is typical to eat a good breakfast with ‘croquetes fregides’…
- “Festa dels Nanos”: this is a strange custom which takes place the third Wednesday of Lent, Ash Wednesday. Neighbours from an area in Cocentaina, called ‘El Raval’, get together, make dolls and dress them up. These dolls represent problems, critisism and comments which are made nowadays in reference to neighbours or the local government. On this day the inhabitants and visitors walk through the streets, visiting the dolls, in a happy and carefree manner.
- Our Lady of the Miracle: Cocentaina’s patron Saint ‘Virgen Mary’, has a day dedicated to her, the 19th. April. This day commemorates when a painting of the Virgen Mary cried tears in 1520. Several religious and devoted acts take place. One may see women dressed up in costumes which were typical in the past. Different acts including flowers being offered to the Virgen Milagro and a procession, in her honour, take place amongst others.
- Easter Week: this is a traditional celebration where brotherhood can be seen wearing different clothing. Each year Cocentaina’s Easter week counts on the town’s participation.A peculiarity is ‘Les Capelletes’and the children’s choir which accompany the procession of ‘Los Capelletes’, by singing and carrying statues.
- Moors and Christians: during the second weekend of August, Cocentaina bears its honour to the town’s patron saint, Saint Hipólito. This has been going on since the year 1600. A festival, which is loved and enjoyed.Different acts, like ‘L’Entrà’ take place. This is where the troops, being muslims and christians, show off their costumes while marching along to the sound of wonderful music.Other acts like”l’Ambaixada del les Tomaques” (tomato fight), “l’Ambaixada de Maseros i Contrabandistes” (speech and fight between the christians, being Maseros, and the moors, being Contrabandistas, takes place) or the weapon presentation are unique and claimed as being of tourist interest. This festival is not only a great attraction for the inhabitants of Cocentaina, but also for the nearby regions.
- Fira de Tots Sants (All Saints Trade Fair): around the first of November, Cocentaina is converted into a large trade fair set up in the open air.It was initiated in 1346, as requested by King Pedro IV. This trade fair draws the attention of more than a million visitors. It is one of the most important events which takes place in the Valencian community. During these days, the medieval market and the Arab souk, farming machinery, entertainment, shows, exhibitions…a splendid festival of national touristic interest, full of its very own culture and history, can be seen.
The first major event of the festival calendar in Muro appears on January 17 with an artisanal and shopping fair linked to Saint Anthony and completed by a variety of cultural events as a typical dance. The week before Lent, the carnival of Muro becomes the main festive reference of the area and an attractive invitation to fun, while the second weekend of May the festivities of Moors and Christians are held, dedicated to the Virgin of the Helpless . The book festival, the dancing at the Palace in June, and the celebration of October 9 are other references to culture and festivities in the town.