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Elche August Fiesta Nit de l'Alba
The August Fiestas in Elche take place from the 11th to the 15th August 2017 and include a great selection of events which are explained below.
The night of the 13th of August or the Nit de l'Alba as it is known to everyone in the city of Elche is a magical night when the skies are illuminated by fireworks in honour of the city’s Patroness, Mary the mother of Jesus. The Nit de l'Alba is part of the larger celebrations in honour of the Virgin Mary. During the evening of the 13th August from about 18.00 onwards, the local people start to let off rockets and fire crackers in the streets. This gradually gathers momentum, until the official show starts and the city is filled with the sounds, smell and sights of fireworks. The display is almost war like and you could easily be forgiven for thinking that you were in the middle of a battle! The official loud, colourful storm of rockets and fireworks begins at 23:00 hours and continues unabated until a few minutes before midnight. Suddenly all the fireworks cease and the city lights are turned off. For a few seconds, the darkness blanketing the city is brilliantly lit up by an enormous white starburst firework the Palmera de la Virgen; which is released from the Basilica Santa Maria. Once the magic moment has passed, the city lights are restored and on the Basilica’s tower an image of the Virgin in fireworks bursts into life accompanied by the famous chorus 'Aromas Ilicitanos'.
The following night, on the 14th August, it is the Roa or vigil of the Virgin’s body. The statue of the body of Mary is carried through the streets of the old town and many thousands line the route carrying candles. They follow the statue and as the night turns to morning so the partying starts!
The final day of the fiesta is the day of the patroness; Our Lady Mary. There is a morning procession of the “Mare de Déu”, or Mother of God takes place. Actors from the Mystery Play also participate in this procession as the image of the Virgin is borne through the streets of the city’s historical quarter. The fiesta is officially brought to a close with another spectacular firework display at midnight.
Other events during this Fiesta include the Mascleta contest at 14:00 from the 11th to the 14th August in the Palacio de Altamira, beside the Basilica. There is also a Gastronomy Fiesta along the Paseo de la Estación, beside the Municipal Palm Park from the 11th to the 15th August where the restaurants offer their best tapas and drinks at popular prices.
Friday 11th – Monday 14th August 2017
14:00 Mascletas in the Palacio de Altamira beside the Cathedral
Friday 11th – Tuesday 15th August 2017
12:30 & 20:00 Opening of the Tapas Festival along the Paseo de la Estación, beside the Municipal Palm Park
Sunday 13th August 2017 Nit de l'Alba
23:15 Numerous fireworks from the bridges, buildings, balconies and terraces of the city in an offering to the Virgin of the Assumption, Patron Saint of Elche. At midnight the street lights are turned off and the most famous song from the Mystery play is broadcast throughout the city. The display finishes with a special firework from the roof of the cathedral.
Monday 14th August 2017 Nit de la Roà
20:00 Flower offering to Mary the mother of Jesus. Route: Plaza de España, Marqués de Asprillas, Reina Victoria, Plaça i Baix, Corredora, Puente Ortices, Capitán Lagier, Plaza del Congreso Eucarístico to the Cathedral where the flower offering takes place.
23:00 Grand Fiesta Nit de la Roà starts during which people parade through the streets of the old town with candles and attend parts of the continuous ceremony which takes place at the Antigua Villa Medieval Ilicitana.
Tuesday 15th August 2017 Dia de Virgen Mary
10:00 Procession of the Burial of Mary.
12:00 Extraordinary Concert by the Banda Sinfonica de Musica Ciudad de Elche in the Municipal Palm Park
14:00 Grand Mascleta in honour of the Virgen Mary.
00:00 Spectacular firework display from the Puente del Ferrocarril.