Javea’s main festival take place during the last week of August and the first week of September in the port area of the town and is in honour of Our Lady of Loreto. Rather than set up a temporary bullring and have bullfights as is the case in the majority of national village fiestas, Javea provides quite a divergence from the theme called Bous a la Mar (Bulls to the Sea).
A temporary stand is constructed in the port area with seats looking down on a small man-made “beach” which is no more than 70m long by 20m wide. Along one side of this sandy area is the stand for spectators and at the other side is the sea.
A lorry arrives carrying up to six bulls and unloads them into a secured paddock under the stand. A single firework goes off and the first bemused bull runs out into the open sandy area where local lads run around attracting its attention. Their aim is to bait it to attack them near the waterfront so that it will fall into the sea.
What tends to happen is that the bull, which is not a stupid animal, quickly works out the plan and runs along parallel to the water’s edge showing its horns to the local lads who throw themselves into the sea over and over again. A new bull replaces the existing one after a while and the whole debacle starts again. Occasionally a bull does end up in the water and is rescued immediately.
Many locals who have seen it all before prefer to place themselves at the large temporary bar area which is set up next to the bull run area and spend the week drinking beer and eating freshly cooked sardines. Definitely the more interesting option.
Other events during Javea’s festivals include Chess Championships, a basketball tournament, a table tennis competition and various tournaments of typical local sports. There is something for everyone with a special children’s days which includes a parade, games and free drinks and ice-cream for all the children and a senior citizen’s day which involves a lot of music and dancing and free sangria. On various evenings there are large neighbourhood dinners where everybody brings there own food and enjoys the company of friends.
In the Valencia area fireworks and bangers are central to all festival and Javea is no different. Often you will hear a cacophony of noise which is from firecrackers strung up in the streets and their bangs echoing off the surrounding houses. As in all “fiestas” in Spain music is very important and many bands and groups play on different nights. The whole festival is finished off by a spectacular firework display at approximately 1 a.m. on the last night in the port area.
Other Javea Festivals
The festival of Jesus Nazareno is celebrated from the 28th April till the 3rd May. This involves taking the statue of Jesus from the Calvari Hermitage to the San Bartolome Church on the third Sunday of Lent and then returning it on 3rd May. During this festival there is also a competition of crosses made of fresh flowers.
During the last 2 weeks of June there is the Fogueres de San Joan which involves large papier-mache ‘sculptures’ often of famous people in sport or current affairs. On the 24th June, the feast of San Juan, these large sculptures are burnt. In the days preceding this there are many small bonfires in the streets which young people jump over to purify their bodies.
At the end of July Javea celebrates Moros y Cristianos (Moors and Christians) with mock battles and parades.