del 08-jul-2020 al 16-jul-2020

San Pere & Mare de Déu del Carme in Altea: Festivities with a taste of the sea.

Abahana Villas - Festivities of San Pere.
Abahana Villas - Festivities of San Pere.

Around either the 14th of July (Our Lady of Mount Carmel) or the 29th of June, Saint Peter's Day - the date of the celebration changes each year to coincide with the day of the Virgin or that of the Apostle - the traditional Alicante-style seafaring festivities are held in honour of Saint Peter (San Pere) and the Mother of God (Mare de Déu del Carme).

These are really colourful celebrations whose heart and soul is always to be found by the sea, on the beach and around the port of Altea.
The festivities always get under way with the "Entrà de la Murta", a parade in which old and young dress up in dashing farmers' outfits and traipse around the entire town, cheering everyone up with their dances.  
The festive ambience grows throughout the big day, with the traditional hurling of gifts from the sea at the Beach of la Roda and continues with a series of leisure and sporting activities such as regattas, the election of the Queen of the Fair, gastronomic competitions or, at lunchtime, free tastings of "coca a la llumà", a type of flat bread. 
The afternoon heralds a number of particularly colourful religious acts, most significantly a mass that takes place at sea. Following a procession of "mayorales" (head shepherds), ladies, queens and authorities, the ceremony takes to the water from the port of Altea, to which it then returns. 
The entire town follows the images of San Pere and the Mare de Déu del Carmen, undoubtedly the main protagonists of the festivity, as they are transferred from their home in the Church of Saint Francis, to the sea. 
Anyone who has a boat can join this maritime procession and throw traditional wreathes of flowers into the sea in memory of all the sailors who did not return to shore. 
Yet even though the townspeople do not forget those who were lost at sea, they all head out into the streets at nightfall to enjoy themselves in the street party and to feast their eyes on the castles of fireworks that are set off at midnight. 
The party must go on! 
One last suggestion: 
If you want to immerse yourself even more in the party atmosphere, keep some time free during these festivities for a trip around Altea's seaside neighbourhood that forms part of its old town centre. 
It's a treat just to wander through its narrow streets, flanked by little whitewashed houses, or to visit its Fish Market (the "Lonja"), or just to lose yourself in this labyrinth that was originally laid out by the town's Muslim inhabitants. 
You can still find a modest restaurant that serves excellent and authentic homemade seafood dishes such as "guisat de pol" (an octopus stew), the traditional fish stew or paella with anchovies.

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