Suspension of 2020 Celebrations

Always considering that the most important is and will continue to be to face and overcome the painful health crisis we are suffering, from the Society of Festeros del Santísimo Cristo de la Agonía of Ontinyent have been following a series of actions that were manifested to the communiqué that was issued last April 8, 2020 after consultation with the members of the Governing Board representing the 24 comparsas, and in which 90% agreed that at that time it was advisable to wait to make any kind of decision regarding the Moors and Christians Festival of Ontinyent in honor of the Holy Christ of Agony in 2020.

Throughout the last weeks the government team of the Society of Festeros, and especially its president, have maintained the spirit and the hope that the situation would improve, and as a consequence that the celebration of the Festivities would be possible. Motivated by the possibility of maintaining the tradition, history, feeling, the illusion and the festive coexistence of all ontinyentins and ontinyentines, are part or not of the comparsas. And at the same time without forgetting to think about the artistic and economic side of the Festival: hotels and stores, bands, music bands, ballets, body builders, photography and audiovisual professionals, designs and clothing, makeup stylists, entertainment companies, rental companies Moors and Christians costumes … Fundamental activities for the Festival that, along with many others, are going through a very bad situation that can become even more complicated for this important sector in our esteemed city, since in Ontinyent we export Moors and Christians Festival everywhere. As a sample, it should be mentioned that industry professionals issued a joint statement to urge caution in the various localities that celebrate Fiestas de Moros y Cristianos, so that before taking any kind of hasty decision were taken into consideration, of course always prioritizing the health of people, the large economic losses that could occur and the many jobs that are at risk.

Unfortunately, however, the development of this health crisis, both economic and social, has been disastrous. The end of April was the approximate deadline that we set ourselves to make decisions in this respect, and on April 26, 2020, when the Governing Board met telematically and agreed on the decision that was subsequently endorsed by the comparsas (as detailed later in this press release), the scenario that was presented to us was not at all optimistic. The state of alarm had just been extended again, the State Government had not yet defined how the de-escalation of the measures adopted would take place, and the decisions in this respect could be reversible and marked by uncertainty. In addition, the continuous contact that the president of this Society has maintained with the City Council of Ontinyent, with different departments and with the Government Delegation made us receive information that was not at all hopeful regarding the concentration of people, both in the short and medium term. As of today, April 30, 2020, two days have passed since the presentation of the so-called “Plan for the transition to a new normality”, and although we have taken a slight respite because we already know how the strategies to be followed for the long-awaited de-escalation, the scenario regarding the celebration of our Fiestas has not changed at all. Once arrived the “new normality”, and until a definitive remedy is found in this pandemic, the inevitable measures of social distancing would make impossible, as we had foreseen, the concentration of people that supposes such a participative and fervent event as the Moors and Christians Festivities of Ontinyent in honor to the Santísimo Cristo de la Agonía, and therefore its celebration as we know them. In addition, uncertainty will continue to be an intrinsic part of the process that awaits us, since it will depend on the results that will be obtained in the evolution of the epidemic crisis. And of course, at no time we have not and will not stop considering the very hard emotional spilling of this sad situation, which is causing tens of thousands of infections and deaths.

Our Moors and Christians Festivities in honor of our Morenet, considered of National Tourist Interest and with international projection, deserve to be celebrated with the maximum guarantees and in all its joy and splendor; in the same way, also deserve to be respected their decision procedures. So during these last weeks and also taking into account the worst case scenario, we have been studying what would be the right way to suspend the celebration of our Festivities, since the Regulations of the Society of Festeros does not empower neither its president, nor his government team, nor the Governing Board of this Society to take such an exceptional decision as would be the suspension until next year. So we have taken refuge in Article 26 of the Regulations of the Society of Festeros, which stipulates that “The variation of the established dates will be made by agreement of the Governing Board of the Society of Festeros, taken by a majority of two thirds of those present, and subsequently endorsed by eighty percent of the comparsas in consultation to be held mandatory”.

For all this, last April 26, 2020 the Governing Board of the Society of Festeros del Santísimo Cristo de la Agonía met in session carried out telematically, where the 24 comparsas are represented, with the objective of making a joint and unprecedented reflection around the suspension until next year of our Festivities of 2020 (being maintained for the Festivities of 2021 both the charges and Primer Trons and the order of the comparsas of this year). By unanimity of the Governing Board the following agreement was taken, which then and until yesterday has been endorsed unanimously by the 24 comparsas in mandatory consultation with its members:

The celebration of the Festivities of Moors and Christians of Ontinyent in honor of the Holy Christ of Agony in 2020 is suspended until 2021 on their usual dates, maintaining for the next Festivities the order of the comparsas , the charges and Primer Tro of 2020, which will be effective again from March 1, 2021.

In this way, this final decision is communicated publicly and officially, and an internal process is finalized as a result of a deep appreciation of the Moors and Christians Festival of Ontinyent in honor of the Holy Christ of Agony, a process that has ensured at all times by the rigorous respect for the established decision-making procedures and has been carried out with the responsibility required by the exceptional situation we are suffering. When the time comes, surely the charges and primers Tro, all the festeros and festive, and the whole city of Ontinyent will resume with more strength and enthusiasm if possible our esteemed Festivities, united and united shoulder to shoulder.

Without further ado, we want to show again our support and deep appreciation for the great work being done by all health personnel, security forces and corps, cleaning staff, carriers, staff of commercial establishments and all those who perform any kind of activity to ensure the care and supply of the population. And in the same way we send all our encouragement as well as the most heartfelt condolences to all those affected by this terrible pandemic.

Ontinyent, April 30, 2020