del 22-Jun-2018 al 25-Jun-2018

The l’Arbret Altea Festival

The neighbourhood of Fornet de Altea welcomes hundreds of young people who are keen to participate in one of the most ancestral and anticipated events that are held to celebrate the arrival of the summer solstice and the fecundation of the earth that it brings.

This event takes place during the Festival of St. John and is known as the "Plantà de l´Arbret".
A much anticipated festivity in which the "tallaor" and other members of the Amics de l'Arbret association choose a poplar tree from the locality of Benilloba, with the intention of cutting it down and to taking it to the square in front of the church in Altea, where it will remain visible from every part of the municipality until the end of the summer.
This is a ceremony that the youngsters repeat year after year, during the Festival of St. John, in homage to the Celtic tradition of worshipping the fertility of their land.

Once the tree has been cut down, the Festival Committee moves off to the car park at the town's University of Fine Arts where the local young folk anxiously await to begin the procession. From here they carry the poplar on their shoulders to the highest point of the old part of the town of Altea, where they set it down before planting it in a hole dug in the Church Square. The tree can be up to 20 metres long, and it is amazing what the youngsters have to do to get it to the Church. However, all the neighbours in the area want to add their grain of sand during the "Plantà de l´Arbret", so they all hurl buckets of water from their houses and balconies, to keep the kids from sweltering in the heat.

One of the most emotive moments of the celebration is when the tree reaches the square. Here everyone helps to get the trunk of the poplar into the earth, lifting it on high where it will remain until the end of August. As it is such a meaningful event, and to compensate for the efforts they have made, the youngsters' T-shirts are tied to the treetop where they will flutter in the wind together with the leaves and the branches of the poplar, by way of a trophy.

Following the ancestral Plantà de l´Arbret, the festivities continue for some days to come, with castles of fireworks, "mascletàs", bonfires and processions in honour of St. John, amid great celebration and considerable hullabaloo.

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