Wednesday 4th May 2022 – Mike Smith
After just over six weeks residing in the heart of the historic centre of Xàbia, the treasured image of Jesús Nazareno has returned home to the iconic blue-domed chapel of Calvario, bringing at end to a week of celebrations held in its honour.
May 3rd is a local bank holiday in Xàbia. The day opened as always with a loud awakening with rockets and bangers breaking the early morning silence as members of the Cofradía del Jesús Nazareno, accompanied by several musicians from the town’s band, walked through the streets of the historic centre and its surrounding neighbourhoods.
As the bells of San Bartolomé rang, a special midday mass was held inside the ancient fortress-church, its interior filled to capacity to listen to members of the ARS NOVA choral group sing the mass and then show their appreciation as the 2022 mayorales were presented with diplomas. These six men – Antonio Milla, José Buigues, Vicente Catalá, Raúl Montserrat, Miguel Pastor and José Antonio Cardono – have been responsible for the mounting of some of the flower crosses that decorated several streets of the town for the first three days of May.
And, following the presentation, the parish priest Salvador Torrent drew out the names of the ten men who will be mayorales for 2023 and responsible for creating the flower crosses next year – David Cordero Borja, Juan Bás Castelló, Manuel Buigues Pedros, Juan Blazquez García, Pedro Cardona Espinos, José Mata Soler, Juan Gavila Sapena, Guillermo Cardona Más and Juan Pedro Cholbi Gavila. He also announced that work is being done to unify both the male and female brotherhoods – currently only men can represent the celebrations at the moment – but it is not expected to be concluded until 2025.
After the mass and presentations, attention turned to the Plaza de la Constitución where a deafening mascletà broke the silence of a bank holiday early afternoon.
The day moved to a conclusion in the evening when another special mass was held to honour the ill and infirm before the image was gently carried out of the church and lifted onto the shoulders of the members of the Cofradia ready for the journey back to the chapel of Calvario, distance of just over two kilometres. But first, the Nazarene accompanied by the Virgin Mother, would be carried through the narrow streets of the historic centre and past the niche in Calle Jesús Nazareno before those strong shoulders and legs carried the image up the steep Camí Canons and through the classic archway to begin the final winding route up the Vía Crucis to return to the chapel of Calvario, the way lit by the townsfolk carrying candles.
And then, the final act, a stunning firework display, marked the image’s return to the chapel and brought a close to the celebrations, the first full fiesta to be held since the gradual return to some sort of normality after the COVID-19 pandemic.