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The image was carried by a woman for the first time in over 250 years

Monday 6th May 2019


The fiestas honouring the town's treasured image of Jesús Nazareno came to an end on Sunday evening with the solemn ascent of the statue to the blue-domed chapel of Calvario. And for the first time since the image's arrival in Xàbia more than 250 years ago, a woman was amongst those who carried it along the two kilometre route from the heart of the historic centre.

The festivities are the most religious celebrations of the year in Xàbia and honour the image which arrived in the village more than 250 years ago as a gift from the Duchess of Medinaceli. Although the original image was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, the exact replica wears the original cloak which was rescued from the original image before it was set ablaze and it is still the most-revered image in the town today, even holding the post of mayor en perpetuum which was bestowed on it during the bicentennial celebrations of 1967.

After ten days of bull-running, flower crosses, theatre, concerts and the offering of flowers, the image was due to be carried back up to the iconic blue-domed chapel of Calvario built to house the statue after its arrival on May 3rd as is tradition. However, after a gloriously sunny day during which the thunderous mascletà shook the town, the clouds began to roll in and the rain fell, not hard but enough to force the cancellation of the procession as well as the fireworks which would have followed. The ascent was re-scheduled for Sunday.

The sky was clear as the image of Jesús Nazareno was carried through the doors of the ancient church of San Bartolomé and began the procession through the historic centre, accompanied by hundreds of townsfolk carrying candles, some even covering the distance bare-foot. The procession passed through the Placeta del Convent and around to Calle Jesús Nazareno where the road surface had been covered in flowers. And it was here that 42-year-old Chus Pobes Serrano, a resident of the street, took the weight of the image on her shoulders to become the first woman in 252 years to do so, for the carrying of the statue has long been the responsibility of the men of the village.

With the image safely arriving at its chapel, a spectacular firework display brought the celebrations to a close.


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