(Texts by Joaquín José Cervino)
Thunders sound around Ontinyent on Monday morning: the Moorish arrive shooting from Canterería sink to besiege the castle that will be defended by the Christians. Then, a parliament between the ambassadors starts. The Moor tries to convince his enemy… and fails; so there is a noisy battle that ends with the Christians defeat.
Faith and fervour load Saturday afternoon. The Moorish –from antic St. Anthony walk, nowadays the Glorieta– and the Christians –from St. Ana hill– disparate trebuchets, arquebuses and muskets. The objective is simply to honour the Holy Christ of Agony, who is devoted our festivities. When the sun starts to set, the Image exit from the hermitage where spends all year. The festive members form in solemn procession from the Slaughterhouse Park to the St. Carlos Church to accompany the Christ.
Next to noon, after deafening around the Major Street, the Marineros (sailors) and the Contrabandistas (smugglers) tropes meet at the gates of the castle. It’s time to exchange cock and authoritarian parliaments. The smugglers want to pass their “clandestine goods” and the sailors intent to block it.
We start the day that opens our Big Festivities Week with a mass at the doors of the St. Anne Hermitage for the good of the souls of the festive members and partners who have died. This is the religious preamble to the outbreak that is coming.
A campaign mass is celebrated at fresh on Sunday morning at the confluence of the Martínez Valls and José Simó Marín streets. After this, the Formal Morning Parade starts with the traditional “arrancà” by “comparsas” with charges that precede the parade of the 24 “comparsas”. They march around Martínez Valls, Daniel Gil (where the stands of Parade Day remain and can be used freely by public), Moorish and Christians Glorieta, La Concepción Square and Major Street until the castle in the Major Square. This is an act that allows to watch again the formal dresses of each “comparsa” and listen to the double march. In fact, the music fills the streets on Sunday morning.
By mid-morning, after lunch, some (the Moors) more peaceable than others (the Christians who started the morning parade the last), the High Mass is celebrated in honour of the Holy Christ of Agony with the presence of the festive and civil authorities.
Subsequently, a committee passes through narrow and steep streets of the Vila Quarter until the Charitable Hospital where the “comparsas” make a contribution to people who take shape there. The Llauradors (“farmers”) particularize this act delivering an important number of boxes with fruit and vegetables.
The clergy from Ontinyent, which join together the Ontinyent Priestly Fraternity, celebrate a religious service concelebrated by every priests and vicars born in Ontinyent with the others that practise here. The service is on St. Carlos Borromeo Real Parish, in front of the image of the Holy Christ of Agony, at 10.00 am on Monday.
The solemn procession is celebrated on Sunday afternoon. The image of the Holy Christ of Agony runs through the town streets. This is another time for faith and devotion that Ontinyent neighbours profess to the “Morenet”. It is demonstrated by festive members marching seriously and public filling the streets.
The Moors occupy the street of l’Almaig and Daniel Gil Streets on Friday night as the Christians have done in the afternoon. The Moors show their luxurious gowns, majestic floats, horses and camels and dances… And, of course, music. Lots of great music as Moors Marches to make their entry into the town of Ontinyent.
Everybody to the street so early in mourning, after sleeping only a few hours but with the joy of participating in a great feast. The festive members wear their second dress, one that is also wear daily. The first part goes through narrow streets. At these points, the festive members find open houses where their owners offer them coffee, “timonet”, “palometa” and “herbero” to accompany a delicious bite of a roll of liquor, a pinch of “maleneta” (a pie) or a piece of almond cake. Then, the “comparsas” carry on marching to the beat of splendid double march.
The army of the Christians entry into the town of Ontinyent on Friday afternoon. It is leaded by the captain and his/her “comparsa”. After other five “comparsas” have march, in seventh place, the Ensign and the Ambassador appear. In this sunset, the illusion, the emotion and the satisfaction fleet in the festive atmosphere. Twelve “comparsas” march to the rhythm of Christians marches or double marches with the aim of establishing a correspondence with the public.
The last Sunday before the Big Festivities Week, everybody wears their best dresses: it is the time to know and present who will be the main protagonists of the Feast: Captains, Flag Bearers, Ambassadors and “Primers Trons”.
This act includes the interpretation of a music piece specifically composed for the occasion by an author from Ontinyent or especially linked to our town.
A Mass in memory of festive members deceased, celebrated in the St. Anne Hermitage, opens the Sunday previous the Big Festivities Week. Then, an emotional lunch reminds again these comrades who deceased during the festive year.
This act serves to recognize merits. In fact, honourable mentions are given to the “Primer Tro of Honour” o the silver insignias of Festive Society. However, the main objective is to announce and give the accrediting medals to “Primers Trons”, Captains, Flag Bearers and Ambassadors of the year.
Near the doors of the castle designed by Helios Gisbert, the younger festive members show us their style to roll the knife, dominate the sickle, the sabre o the sword, whatever the weapon that characterizes their “comparsa”. At the end, as a contest, the jury determinates a winner for each army. However, the rest receive a commemorative souvenir.
When the charges presentation finishes, it is the turn of the Festivities Proclamation. Everybody presents there have the honour to hear how the Caller, perched on a lectern, tells us his/her speech to announce that Ontinyent festivities are coming.
The official music band of each “comparsa” marches to the rhythm of a double march around the Gomis and Mayans Streets until the Major Square. This is the moment to listen to the melodies that each band has prepared with effort and care because there is also an interpretation and a uniformity contests.
Arriving in front of Town Hall, in front of the castle, the musicians are collocated to interpret the famous Moor march “Chimo”, an immortal piece composed by the beloved Master, José María Ferrero Pastor. An invited director with guest prestige directs all the bands.
The younger festive members stand out on Friday morning. They are the future of our festivities and this is their great moment: the children are who march before music bands and receive the applause from the public. They are the protagonists: encourage them and enjoy!
(Texts by Joaquín José Cervino)
Trebuchets, arquebuses and muskets are re-listened on Monday afternoon but in the opposite paper respect the morning. The Christian from Cantereria and the Moorish from St. Rafael Quarter; both meet in Major Square. The verses written by Joaquín José Cervino y Ferrero, in which the Christian aspire to control the castle and Ontinyent neighbours, are listened. The battle comes back the gates of the fortress and finally the Christian get to defeat the Moorish.
This act closes the intensive festive programme. It is the point that marks the end of five intensive and exhausting days. Captains, Flag Bearers and Ambassadors and their escorts march in first term; then, Moorish and Christian groups. Some of them give candy and small details to public as a gratitude sign. Everybody is accompanied by their music bands to conclude.
For some people, this act is the end of the festivities. For other people, this is the start point for the next festivities. The members of the festive groups don’t wear their festive clothes and the way to the hill is the moment to know what each “comparsa” decided in the respective “creuades” and who have been chosen for the new charges. Fifteen days after turning down the Christ from the hermitage of St. Ana; now, in a Sunday afternoon on September, it is when the Christ is returned to its place. This act symbolizes that the festive programme doesn’t stop and is renewed year after year.