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People's Daily Online>>Life & Culture

Spanish festivals gain UNESCO recognition

(Xinhua)

20:28, November 28, 2011

MADRID, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Annual celebrations in the Spanish town of Algemesi in Valencia have been deemed as "immaterial patrimony of humanity" by UNESCO.

The fiestas, named "Mare de deu de la salut" (mother of god and of health), were officially recognized for their "cultural value which passes from generation to generation."

The festivals, held every year on Sept. 7-8, date back to the 13th century and include traditional dance, music, theatre and processions involving almost all of the inhabitants of the town.

Participants are known to wear traditional costumes and reenact the history of the town, mixing Roman, Christian, Moorish and Jewish elements.

UNESCO highlighted the efforts that are continually being made to protect the fiestas closely linked to the identity of the town of Algemesi.

The festival begins with a bell-ringing ceremony followed by a procession, songs and theatrical plays acted out by the town's children. The celebrations also see the construction of human towers representing the former kings of Aragon, who ruled the area before the unification of Spain.

The fiesta was declared an event of tourist interest in 1977 and of cultural interest by the Spanish government last year.

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