Thursday, June 30, 2011

Two Weeks After the Vancouver Riots, a report on Javea's street 'violence'

Just noticed this is my 423rd post. That's a lot of time spent on the computer when I should be out enjoying myself! However, I do get a lot of enjoyment sharing the things I find when out travelling around.... perhaps because I don't keep track of just how few people actually read them!

Children’s sculptures set on fire in Javea

It's two weeks since violence erupted on the streets of Vancouver following the seventh game of the Stanley Cup finals. I therefore felt compelled to report on what happened in the streets of Javea on the evening of June 24th, 2011. Huge crowds jammed the Old Town and the streets were littered. On two separate occasions, men set fire to what appeared to be elaborate children’s cartoon sculptures in two of the town’s public squares.

But unlike the Vancouver situation, this was not unplanned violence by uncontrollable youths.

On the contrary, it was the finale to the Fiestas of Sant Juan, the patron saint of carpenters, although the tourist office referred to it as Sant Joan, and one guide book referenced Saint John the Baptist. What I do know is that it was the end of a two week long annual celebration that had included, amongst other things a chess competition, a cycling race, music performances, bull running, parades, children’s games and workshops followed by sardines and colas, a serenaders’ contest, the mounting of children’s effigies, a giant community paella, flower offerings, the burning of old junk…. all culminating on Friday night with an elaborate float parade featuring hundreds of young girls in very ornate dresses followed by the burning of the children’s effigies at 10pm and midnight in the town squares!

Like Vancouver, there was violence and the hurling of objects here too. Except here it was young girls on the floats throwing candy to the crowds….I know since unfortunately one piece hit my new camera in the lens, and decommissioned it for a while.

As the parade passed through the town, a uniformed sanitation crew swept up the litter in the streets…but this time the litter consisted of streamers and confetti thrown from the floats by the young girls and boys to the adoring crowds lining the streets.

The burning of the effigies was a sight to behold. We just couldn’t believe what we saw. A crew of pyrotechnic engineers draped the children’s sculptures with explosive fuses and firecrackers. Then they doused the cute little characters with what looked like olive oil, although it could have been a real fire accelerant…the kind used by arsonists. As dozens of watching photographers took photos, a small group of specially selected girls collectively lit a fuse tied to a nearby tree, and the next thing we knew, firecrackers were going off and the sculptures were ablaze. The crowd cheered.

The evening continued with the burning of a giant effigy in the main town square at midnight, followed by rock concerts and more firecrackers and fireworks. But having played 18 holes of golf at the Javea golf club from high noon onwards, and walked miles into the town, we decided to give the finale a pass, and instead returned to one of the many waterfront restaurant for some amazing tapas including fried small squid, grilled razor clams, sausages in sherry, potatoes piri-piri, and grilled asparagus with goat cheese.

While I need to do more research on the traditions associated with the Sant Juan/ Joan Festival, suffice it to say, this is a major event for the town…the families spend a lot of money renting the elaborate dresses for the girls…and perhaps not knowing anything else, the kids love seeing their cartoon characters set alight…no doubt believing that the evils represented by the effigies will have been eliminated, at least for a short while.

While I was pleased to read that Vancouver recently had a weekend of festivals, I do hope we can develop more as time goes by, since there is no doubt, based on the Javea experience, and that of other towns and cities throughout Spain, they result in great family events and traditions, which in the case of Spain, have been happening for centuries.

I’m just sorry we will miss all the Moors and Christians mock battles that happen in mid-July!


Edward said...

Another major factor is the climate of this region. The cool breeze originating from the Mediterranean provides soothing summers and the same breeze warms up the area during cooler winter evenings. Javea has a wide range of apartments for sale. As we said, whether you are looking for apartments for sale in Javea as an investment, villas for sale in Javea for permanent living or a place to holiday, Javea has something that fits everybody's bill.

essay helper said...

WOW! I didn't know that there was so much action there! Great event!

Aleman said...

The Costa Blanca in Spain has long been a popular holiday destination for tourists from other parts of Europe, and in particular the UK. Most holiday makers head for the major resorts such as Benidorm, but an increasing number are discovering that there are many holiday resorts on the Costa Blanca which are perfect for a holiday.

Steve Kershaw said...

Though nightlife is limited, Javea is more for having fun on the beach enjoying the outdoors that you rarely get to see in the city. You must have seen octopus and eels in videos and movies; however you get to see them live at some of the most amazing scuba diving sites in and around Javea. You need not be a pro at diving to enjoy this view as several of these sites are not very deep. Javea is a perfect location for a holiday and has ample activities for both family and couples. With the sun smiling down on you, Javea is the perfect getaway from the chaotic city life. So, foe the perfect holiday, contact Holiday Villas Javea.

Steve Kershaw said...

Apart from watersports such as sailing, scuba diving, surfing, water skiing and fishing, there are several other things that you can do in Javea. If shopping is your aim, then Javea Port and the Arenal beach have some very good boutiques and shops selling everything from necessities such as sun block to some great souvenirs to take home. Another great attraction for those on a holiday is the weekly outdoor market held on Thursday. The market has lots of stalls selling different goods along with street performers adding to the fun.

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