On 24 July each year, Lloret de Mar celebrates its local festival in honour of its patron saint, Santa Cristina. Performances and events such as the procession to the Chapel of Santa Cristina, the Town Square Ball or the S’Amorra Amorra race on Santa Cristina Beach are just a few of the more traditional activities that you can experience if you happen to be in Lloret on these dates.
According to tradition, every year on Santa Cristina’s Day, the people of Lloret accompanied the procession over land to celebrate High Mass in the Chapel of Santa Cristina, located three kilometres from the town. However, the procession took its toll on many devout townsfolk as it took them over difficult roads and paths as well as across three rivers: Riufret, Sa Riera d’en Passapera and Sa Riera d’en Carrabana, which were very difficult to cross during the rainy season. In light of this string of inconveniences and to make the pilgrimage lighter on the faithful, town representatives petitioned the relevant authorities for permission to follow the route by sea (not the procession itself, as this actually comes to a stop on Lloret Beach and resumes at Santa Cristina Beach). Apparently, it was very difficult to obtain this permission and, in the end, it was necessary to go all the way to Rome to obtain the necessary authorisation.
The Maritime Procession of Santa Cristina takes place on 24 July.
The Ball de Plaça (Town Square Ball)
The Ball de la Plaça, also known as the Almorratxes, is held every year on the first and third days of the Santa Cristina festivities (24 and 26 July) in the Plaça de la Vila.
People have danced at this ball since time immemorial. It likely originates from the old Ball del Ciri which celebrated the swearing in of new Obreros (administrators). The Ball del Ciri took place opposite the house of the provost, or representative, of the Canonical Chapter of Girona Cathedral who, until the beginning of the 19th century, was the feudal lord of the town.
Following tradition, the dance took place in the same location until 1970, when the ball moved to opposite the Town Hall, the seat of Lloret’s current authorities. In fact, members of the council have a front row seat in the square and receive tribute from the dancers.
While the music (previously on a larger scale) seems to be something out of the last century or, at maximum, the 18th, the dance has much older roots, with an undeniably Arabic background. This can be observed in the use of a small glass container featuring four spouts called an almorratxa, which dancers fill with perfumed water, carry with them and offer to their respective female dancing partners.
It is said that, in the times when the Catalan coast was attacked, often by Moors, a powerful, rich man from these lands arrived in Lloret and, after watching the traditional dance, became transfixed by the beauty of a local woman and insisted on dancing. As a token of his affection, he offered her an almorratxa, full of perfume. The maiden, who wished to remain faithful to her people and religion, rejected the Arab visitor and threw the almorratxa to the ground.
The ball took place on 24, 25 and 26 of July, the entirety of the local festivities. It was danced by the administrators, with flowing clothes and a top hat, despite the difference in age between them and their female counterparts.
The almorratxes dance now takes place every year on 24 and 26 July, the first and third days of festivities. At the end of the dance, the four girls, in commemoration of the incident between the Arab man and Christian woman, take the almorratxa, head towards the centre of the square and throw it to the ground. It is said that, if the almorratxa breaks (which it almost always does), the girl will get married within the next year. The performance ends with festive music, quite different that which was previously played, known by the name “Toquen a córrer”.
S’Amorra Amorra is a well-known race using local fishing boats called llaguts that takes place every year during the town’s main summer festival on Santa Cristina Beach.
This race, according to town historian Galceran, dates back to the 19th century. Consequently, we can be certain that the practice of racing with fishing boats took place at least at the end of the 19th century. Josep Galceran tells us how, upon arriving at Santa Cristina Beach, the boats, or llaguts, are placed in a straight line, parallel to each other, while the “Capitana” comes forward to check the depth and then returns to her position between the town council’s boat and the boat belonging to “Ses Obreres”. The admiral shouts: “Now!” and, to the sound of music, the race to the sand on Santa Cristina Beach begins.
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