THE centre of Torrevieja was awash with colour and a hive of activity on Saturday evening.
Thousands of people paraded through the streets to give floral offerings at the steps of the Inmaculada Concepción Church. More than 100 recreational and social associations, groups and societies, covering all aspects of social life in Torrevieja, took part in the processions, which started from the Corazon Church to finish in the town square, all accompanied by marching bands from all over the Alicante province.
Although carrying little more than bunches of flowers as offerings, which now adorn the front of the church, the proceedings took more than three hours to complete, as what seemed like a never ending stream of people, numbering more than 5,000, gave their gifts to the church.
The folkloric groups also performed for the assembly, singing, dancing and playing music, while the entire proceedings were captured on video for TV Torrevieja. Participants were not lacking in enthusiasm or numbers and ranged from babes in arms to those in their 90s from the Third Age Residencies of the city.
The music was provided by groups from Pilar, Sax, Elche and Torrevieja, to name but a few and neighbouring societies, such as the Junto Mayor de Cofradías del Pilar de la Horadada chaired by Ramon Eugenio Escudero Albaladejo, returned once again to give their blessing and support to the parade.
Travelling the furthest to participate were representatives from one of Torrevieja’s Twin Cities, from the Asturian town of Aviles, which included a group of pipers who provided a sample of their folklore, though music, dance and traditional costumes.
The colourful parade began at five in the afternoon and ended more than three hours later with thousands of participants and spectators enjoying the mild evening to stay and watch the parades or take pleasure from a libation at one of the thriving sidewalk cafés. All elected councillors from Torrevieja’s municipal corporation took part in the parade, which oozed in an atmosphere of joy, brotherhood and unity, setting aside any political differences to walk side by side through the streets.
At the end of the parade the Municipal Choir Ricardo Lafuente, accompanied by the Unión Musical Torrevejense, plus the additional voices of those gathered in the Plaza of the Constitution, sang the Salve Mariners, to the pastor of the Immaculata Church, Manuel Martínez Rocamora, who then opened the doors of the church to celebrate Mass.
With Torrevieja’s new Christmas Tree providing a touch of Christmas flavour, Torrevieja’s Mayor, Eduardo Dolon, accompanied by the new Salt Queen, Paloma Cánovas Colón, plus her ladies in waiting, officially opened the Bethlehem Nativity, which contain more than a few torrevejenses elements and annually attracts tens of thousands of visitors to view the miniature models.
The Belen will remain open until after the Three Kings have been and gone on January 8, 2012.