Tears of Santa Marta
Can you imagine the intensity of the patron saint's festivities condensed into a single day? That happens on the 8th of May in La Vila Joiosa, that happens the Day of Llàgrimes.
According to a notarial statement, which can be read in the Chapel of Santa Marta in the Church of the Assumption (one of the three preserved Levantine Gothic Church-Fortresses), on 8th May 1653 the image of the Patron Saint Santa Marta wept with joy at 11 o'clock in the morning. At the same time, in Madrid King Philip II signed the authorisation for the construction of the Relleu Reservoir, a dam that would put an end to the drought problems suffered by La Vila Joiosa.
This miracle of Santa Marta led to the reaffirmation of her patron saint and the celebration of different recreational and festive events on this date. Nowadays, on the closest Saturday to 8th May, La Vila Joiosa dresses up to honour its patron saint. The festive companies get together in their festive sites, or in local restaurants reserved for this day, to share and enjoy the feast just like they do any day of the patron saint's festivitivities (Moros i Cristians from 24 to 31 July): good gastronomy, music and a lot of partying.
The main event is the Floral Offering to Santa Marta. An event in which thousands of “festeros” (people involved in the festivities organisation) and residents take part, wearing traditional 17th and 19th centuries costumes. The variety and colour of the costumes, the colourful floral compositions and the locals happiness make this Offering a very emotional and unique event.
In the Plaza de la Iglesia, the Associació Sta Marta (the organising body of the patron saint's fiestas) prepares a structure where the festeros place their bouquets, and where this beautiful tapestry made of flowers for Santa Marta is filled out bouquet by bouquet.
Once the Floral Offering is over, the festeros return to their festive sites to continue the party until next morning.