The Festival of Our Lady of Yecla
The festival of Our Lady of Yecla, which is the celebration of our patron saint, takes place from the 5th to 8th of December. It is extremely colourful, with brightly decorated costumes and festival activites which include musical shows and gastronimic events. It is full of tradition and ritual and has been declared of National Tourist Interest.
Origin of The Festival of Our Lady of Yecla
The origin of the celebration of Our Lady of Yecla goes back to the time of the French invasion of Catalunia in 1642. The Spanish sovereign called on the people of Yecla to rise up and fight. Thus, on the 17th July 1642, the elect band advanced under the command of Captain Martín Soriano Zaplana to Vinaroz, having stopped previously for refuge and out of devotion at the painting of Our Lady of The Incarnation in the chapel of San Sebastián Castle.
This stronghold, of Arab origin, situated on a mount above the town, dominates the whole surrounding area. Until 1540 the whole parish was called to the veneration of the canvass of Our Lady of the Incarnation. The church was rebuilt in the 19th century and, in later additions, twin towers in a neoclassic style were added. These bear the engravings of the Immaculat Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
After six months away, the brave men of Yecla all returned safe and sound. They returned to the chapel – now a shrine – to prostrate themselves in thanksgiving before the image of Our Lady of the Incarnation. Thanksgiving is thus the origin of the annual celebration of the festival of Our Lady of Yecla.