5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and third Sunday in December
Asociación de Mayordomos de la Purísima Concepción of Yecla.
Families, couples, individual/ Ideal to enjoy the patron saint days’, its authentic winter gastronomy and the tradition and religiousness which characterises these festivities.
Processions such as the Alborada, the Flower Offering, The Solemn Procession on the day 8, the Minerva and the Subida (the ascent of the Virgin, when she is taken back to the Sanctuary). The entrance of the Virgin to the Basílica on 7 and 8 December among the constant bangs produced by the harquebuses, with the shot of the well-known Arcas Cerradas are spectacular moments of this festival, together with the popular “Gachasmigas”, the Bajada (Taking down of the Virgin) and the Flower Offering.
For further information:
This festival is our patron saint days’, which have been declared of National Tourist Interest and a Property of Cultural Interest.
Furthermore, they have recently launched an application for mobile phones with which we can follow the latest news and it even has a GPS locator device so that we could know the Virgin’s exact location during the feast days.
Historical background of the festival:
The “Fiestas of the Virgen” is a festival of great heritage interest as it is regulated by 1786 Municipal Ordinances, which were drawn up after the festival had been celebrated since the previous century in order to perpetuate its ritual. It’s a display of weapons which continues to be carried out with the organisational structure of the old council militias, that prevailed during the Old Regime (from the 16th to 18th centuries). Its participants make up the called “Soldadesca” (Soldiery), formed by a single company of militiamen, whose clothing and armament are common: top and tails and a black hat with corners. They all hold harquebuses (muzzle-loading firearms) which are discharged, producing the traditional bangs. These firearms are loaded just with powder.
The squad of soldiers (“escuadra”, four numbers and a corporal) is the smallest part which forms the militias, united in groups of squad of soldiers. Regarding its formation, the Company of militiamen is headed by the “Oficial Capitán” (the Captain), the “Mayordomo del Bastón” (Host of the Baton), whose insignia is the “Bastón de Mando de la Compañía” (Baston of the Company); the “Oficial Alférez Abanderado” (the Second Lieutenant Officer) and the “Mayordomo de la Bandera” (Host of the Flag) which bears the Company’s Flag.
(Host of the Flag) which bears the Company’s Flag. Both hosts are assisted by two “Pajes” (Pages), dressed in period customs, being the boy for the Captain and the girl for the Second Lieutenant. The remaining positions within the Company are completed by two “Sargentos” (sergeants), traditionally known as “Tíos de las Punchas”, carrying 18th century halberds and four “Ayudantes Mayores” (Major Adjutants).
The historical origin of the festival is in the War of Secession in Catalonia, which occurred during the reign of the king Philip 5th. During the military campaign in 1642, a company made up of 61 militiamen from the town of Yecla was recruited. All of them left for Vinaroz on 17th July of the same year, where they remained quartered for half a year. Once the military campaign was finished, as they came back with no casualties, a display was carried out in honour of the “Virgen del Castillo” (the Virgin, the patron saint of Yecla), considering this fact to be the beginning of the patron saint’s festivals.
We recomend you:
“I would recommend nature tourism to the tourist coming to Yecla, besides rural sports, from mountain bike tours to Tobarrillas Sierra Salinas, to running across different places of Yecla. Lastly, of course, I would recommend our winter gastronomy to the visitor, highlighted by our gazpachos, pelotas and tortas fritas.” (see our section on gastronomy in the website). José Francisco Puche, president of the Asociación de Mayordomos de la Purísima Concepción of Yecla