Festivity of ‘la Mare de Déu de la Salut’ of Algemesí
Inscribed in 2011 (6.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- Entry of the “Mare de Déu” in the Basilica
The Festivity of ‘la Mare de Déu de la Salut’ is celebrated in Algemesí in the Province of Valencia, Spain. Every 7 and 8 September almost 1,400 people participate in theatre, music, dance and performances organized in the historical areas of the city: Valencia, La Muntanya, Santa Barbara and La Capella. Processions run from the Basílica Menor de San Jaime to the Capella de la Troballa. The festivities commence with bell-ringing from the basilica followed by a parade. The Schola Cantorum choir and orchestra perform vespers in the evening at the basilica, followed by bell-ringing and the Procession of the Betrothed, which features Els Misteris (short, religious theatrical pieces performed by children) human towers with traditional musical accompaniment, and dance performances. The next day, giant puppets representing the King and Queen of Aragon, James I and his wife Violante of Hungary, join the morning procession, while the General Grand Procession features representations of biblical characters and songs of the apostles. The involvement of the town’s inhabitants is the foundation for the continuity of this celebration. All costumes, ornaments and accessories are handcrafted, and the dances and musical scores are passed from generation to generation.
Decision 6.COM 13.46
The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:
- R.1: Combining dance, music, religious ceremonies and rituals, the festivity of ‘la Mare de Déu de la Salut’ is recreated and transmitted within the community of Algemesí;
- R.2: Due to the collective character of its rituals and to the different cultural expressions performed, the festivity testifies to human creativity and its inscription on the Representative List could contribute to promoting intercultural dialogue and mutual respect;
- R.3: Ongoing and proposed measures, such as research, documentation and publication activities, demonstrate the concerted efforts of local and national institutions, the community and cultural associations to safeguard the festivity;
- R.4: Bearers, practitioners and representatives of the community of Algemesí participated in the nomination process and provided their free, prior, and informed consent through the Fundació de la Festa a la Mare de Deu de la Salut i al Crist de l’Agonia;
- R.5: The element is included in the General Inventory of Valencian Cultural Heritage as well as in the Register of Assets of Cultural Interest maintained by the Spanish Ministry of Culture.
Inscribes Festivity of ‘la Mare de Déu de la Salut’ of Algemesí on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
© 2010 by servicio de Patrimonio Histórico de la Generalitat Valenciana
These videos (and many more) can also be consulted through the UNESCO Archives Multimedia website