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Fiestas Patronales de la Purisima, Mazarrón

From the 4th to the 8th of December the Costa Calida town of Mazarrón celebrates Fiestas Patronales de la Purisma or Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The fiesta follows a tradition dating back to the 16th century and pays respect to the town’s patron saint, the Virgen de la Purisima.
The tradition dates back to 1565 when an effigy of Our Lady of the Conception was placed in a chapel in Mazarrón. This led to many locals worshipping the figure and a number miraculous occurrences being attributed to it, most notably the ‘Miracle of Bolnuevo’. It is said that on the 17th of November, 1585, intervention by Virgen de la Purisima repelled an attack on the town by Berber pirates. It is not known exactly when the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception was adopted as the town’s patron saint but it is widely believed to be a result of this intervention, as the figure came to be seen as a protector of the townspeople. As a further sign of devotion to the patron saint, another church was built in her honour in Bolnuevo, the site of the thwarting of the Berber raid. From the 4th of December, there are number of events held throughout the town in a build up to the 8th. These include sports competitions, dances, food tasting, fairgrounds and musical performances. Much of the celebration occurs on the 8th, however, a national holiday. The morning of the day of the Inmaculada Concepción, begins with an offering of flowers to the figure of the Virgin. The image is then lifted aloft and paraded through the streets of the town in a religious precession. Later in the afternoon there is a more jovial parade of colourful floats decorated by local groups. The floats take weeks of preparation and depict various characters, from heroic knights to the Pink Panther. At the end of the day the festival is seen out with a closing party and a spectacular fireworks display that lights up the town. Mazarrón is around one hour and twenty minutes’ drive from Alicante Airport and Drivalia Car Rental.