Thursday 9th September 2021 – ÁLVARO MONFORT with Mike Smith
For another year, the image of Mare de Déu de Loreto could not be paraded through the streets of the port on the final day of the fiestas held in its honour, not through a lack of desire, but due to the ongoing pandemic and the need to avoid gathering crowds. Instead, the image waited at the entrance of the parish church for the visit of the residents of Xàbia who came along to meet her for the two hours she was on display.
At 5.30pm, adorned in her full dress and placed on her litter, the Virgin began her usual journey out of the old cloister to the front of the church whilst the bells rang in the background. However, the iconic descent down the entrance steps could not take place but the emotion was palpable – the image of la Mare de Déu de Loreto had come out. almost to street level, for the first time since 2019.
The Fiesta Commission had set up the space so that visitors could surround the image and contemplate it without streets. Many of the people attending showed their curiosity to see the new cape of the Virgin in person, a gift from a parishioner in commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the festivities held in honour of the port’s patron. And it was the back of the cape that aroused most interest and, on the last day of the novena, when the cape was blessed, it was discovered that it had been embroidered with the coat of arms of Xàbia as a symbol of the historical devotion towards the Virgin by not only the port area, but also the entire town.
Musicians from Colla Xirimitab’s enlivened the afternoon. At around 7.00pm, the prayer of the Rosary was performed and, half an hour later, under a bouquet of fireworks, the image of the Virgin of Loreto was returned to the cloister in the same was that it would have done had it been in procession around the town. Inside the church, the parishioners welcomed the image with song and prayer.
The parish priest D. Francisco bid farewell to the festivities by thanking the work done to carry out the symbolic programme that will serve as a prelude to a commemorative celebration of the anniversary next year when the special fiesta will have the representation of the Mayorales and Mayoralesas of 2020 and 2021 who have been able to star in the festivities.
Then, at around 9.30pm, a colourful firework display brought the 2020 adapted celebrations to an end.