Festivity of ‘la Mare de Déu de la Salut’ of Algemesí
Inscribed in 2011 (6.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
The Festivity of ‘la Mare de Déu de la Salut’ is celebrated in Algemesí in the Province of Valencia, Spain. Every 7 and 8 September almost 1,400 people participate in theatre, music, dance and performances organized in the historical areas of the city: Valencia, La Muntanya, Santa Barbara and La Capella. Processions run from the Basílica Menor de San Jaime to the Capella de la Troballa. The festivities commence with bell-ringing from the basilica followed by a parade. The Schola Cantorum choir and orchestra perform vespers in the evening at the basilica, followed by bell-ringing and the Procession of the Betrothed, which features Els Misteris (short, religious theatrical pieces performed by children) human towers with traditional musical accompaniment, and dance performances. The next day, giant puppets representing the King and Queen of Aragon, James I and his wife Violante of Hungary, join the morning procession, while the General Grand Procession features representations of biblical characters and songs of the apostles. The involvement of the town’s inhabitants is the foundation for the continuity of this celebration. All costumes, ornaments and accessories are handcrafted, and the dances and musical scores are passed from generation to generation.