On the contrary to the majority of towns and cities in Spain, the Magdalena Festivities of Castellón (from 27th of February to 06 of March) the are not to honour the patron saint of the city but are in fact to celebrate the founding of the city as it is known today.
On the 8th of September, 1251, after a petition by its inhabitants, Jaime I authorised the royal representative, Ximén Pérez de Arenós, the transfer of the Town of Castellón from the hill of the Magdalena situated at the foot of the area known as The Desert of The Palms (“Desierto de las Palmas”), to the plains giving rise to what is known nowadays as the city of Castellón de La Plana.
This transfer took place, according to tradition, on the third Sunday of Lent in 1252, and for this reason the Magdalena Festivities are commemorated every year on the third Sunday of Lent, changing its exact date of the celebration because Lent is a kind of calendar based on the first full moon of the spring septentrional.
The Magdalena Festivities, as we recognise them nowadays, began in 1945 and since this time they are initiated every year with the “Mascletà” on the first Saturday with the firing of the corresponding number of loud fireworks equivalent to the years that have passed since 1945.
The starting signal of the Festivities is the ‘Cavalcada del Pregó’, a parade where the town crier invites the citizens and visitors to participate in the Festivities. However, the most anticipated moment of the Festivities is The Pilgrimage of the Canes (“La Romeria de les Canyes”), when the people of the city walk to the Magdalena Hermitage next to the Desert of The Palms. There is also the popular parade of the “Gaiates”, monuments of light and colour that are exhibited in all the cities neighbourhoods described by the popular tradition as “un esclat de llum sense foc ni fum”. The very fact that these monuments are in the streets of the city is a clear signal that the Magdalena Festivities are to be enjoyed and experienced with the people of Castellón in the streets: in the Wine, Beer and Tapas Areas, the “collas” (groups of friends who organise parties) or the bars of the city.
During the whole week the open air activities, fairs, concerts, firework displays, bullfighting and organised suppers fill the party programme of Castellón.
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