FESTIVITIES IN ORIHUELA COSTA
January. Festival of San Antón
This local fiesta takes place in the San Antón neighbourhood on around 17th January each year. As part of the traditional pilgrimage they organise typical local activities such as el caliche (which involves throwing discs measuring 5 centimetres in diameter, with the aim of knocking over coins supported on a stick placed vertically in the ground), a raffle for piglets, the sale of homemade foods and crafts. Also during these days you will find typical products such as bolicas de San Antón (round caramel sweets) and turrón de panizo (very sweet maize nougat).
An unusual event that takes places during the fiestas is the Concurso Nacional de Charlatanes (National Charlatans Contest) in which sellers of any kind of product try to promote it with a lot of smooth-talking and good humour.
January. Half-Year Celebrations
During the last week in January the Half-Year Celebrations celebrate the fact that it is only six month until the next Moors and Christians festival. The celebrations take place in Orihuela’s Circus Theatre. The event is followed by the traditional Half-Year Celebrations dance.
February. Medieval market
Held at the beginning of February, this event aims to recreate the commercial tradition of the 12th century and is a popular local fiesta for residents and tourists in Orihuela.
Thousands of visitors flock here every year to sample and buy all kinds of artisan products typical of that time, such as cheeses, cured sausages and pottery, among other products.
March. St. Patrick’s Day
On 17th March, people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in many parts of the world including along the coast of Orihuela. Orihuela’s City Council organises St. Patrick’s Day events every year. Visitors can enjoy typical Irish dishes, games, Irish dancing, market stalls, etc.
April. Easter Week
The Easter festivities in Orihuela have been declared to be of International Tourist Interest. Every year, 14 cofradías and hermandades (religious associations and brotherhoods) parade through the streets, making Orihuela a unique place to be. Some of the main Easter events include the Procession of the Palms, the Procession of the Holy Burial of Christ and the Procession of Santa María del Mar.
June. Corpus Christi Procession
This traditional procession winds through the streets of Orihuela, together with numerous faithful followers. During the procession, they play different pieces of music, as well performing dances with ribbons and sticks, in the way they did in the Baroque period.
July. Moors and Christians Festival (or Festival of the Reconquest)
For eight days, around 17th July, the city celebrates the Moors and Christians fiestas, one of the most popular events in Orihuela. Through a re-enactment, they commemorate the reconquest of the city and the final expulsion of the Moorish armies from the Peninsula.
In Orihuela at the moment there are 10 comparsas (groups that dress in traditional costume) on the Moorish side and 8 on the Christian side, who undertake parades, battles and musical marches in performances that draw spectators from all over the world.
17th July. Day of the Bird
Every year on 17th July, as part of the Moors and Christians Festival, the Christians celebrate the Anniversary of the Reconquest. At noon, the Oriol banner (which depicts an oriole bird) is displayed for all the citizens to see. On the same day, during the morning, the banner is lowered from the balcony of the City Hall and is carried to the Cathedral, then to the church of Santa Justa y Rufina before finally being returned to the balcony of the City Hall.
August. Festival of Orihuela Costa
For some years now the City Council has been organising this festival in which concerts, sports competitions, exhibitions and other activities are held. Both residents and the numerous tourists that visit at this time of year take part in the events.
September. Patron Saint Festivities of the Virgin of Monserrate
The Festivities of the Virgin of Monserrate take place on 8th September. This religious celebration commemorates the appearance of the image of the Virgin in the mountains of the Sierra de Orihuela. Different cultural performances and fireworks displays take place during the celebrations.