Dawn pil­grim­age draws the crowds

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - News - [email protected]­news.es

By Alex Watkins MORE than 4,000 peo­ple par­tic­i­pated in the Venida de la Vir­gen pil­grim­age in Elche on Fri­day.

At 07.00, be­fore sun­rise, the dra­matic rep­re­sen­ta­tion be­gan of how the statue of the Vir­gin Mary was sup­pos­edly found on Ta­marit beach on De­cem­ber 28, 1370 by the coast­guard Francesc Cantó. Ac­cord­ing to leg­end, it was washed up in an ark which also con­tained the orig­i­nal mu­si­cal score and stage di­rec­tions for the Mys­tery of Elche re­li­gious play. Af­ter­wards the pil­grims, in­clud­ing the mayor and coun­cil­lors, walked from Santa Pola back to Elche, stop­ping for a tra­di­tional pic­nic half­way. At around 15.00 Cantó, played by jockey Fran­cisco San­martín, gal­loped on horse­back to the Plaza de Baix to an­nounce the dis­cov­ery of the city’s pa­tron, which was then car­ried to the Basílica de Santa María.

Pil­grims tak­ing part in the Venida de la Vir­gen

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