THE FESTIVAL OF THE COMING OF THE VIRGIN
According to tradition, in the early hours of the morning of December 28, 1370 the coastguard Francesc Cantó who was watching over the Elche coastline, discovered in the waters offshore a chest containing an image of La Virgen de la Asunción (Our Lady of the Assumption) and the verse book known as the “consueta”, giving the music and stage directions to represent the sacred play known as Mystery Play of Elche.
Every 28th of December, at 15:00 and starting at the Huerto de les Portes Encarnades, Cantó appears on horseback as he announces his discovery to the local authorities. Upon issuing an edict, a committee goes out to take possession of the chest. Upon reaching the Huerto de les Portes Encarnades, the image of Our Lady is taken in procession to the Basilica of Santa María. Every year, a commemorative romería or procession takes place from Santa Pola to Elche.
The procession starts on the 28th of December at the beach known as Playa del Tamarit (Santa Pola) and finalises at Huerto de les Portes Encarnades. On the morning of the 29th (the feast day) there is a procession of the homecoming of Our Lady known as La Venida de la Virgen, and the image is accompanied on her throne by boys and girls dressed as little angels.
Transfer of the virgin