The market of la Foradà

The solar alignment of La Foradada and the so-called Festa de l’Oli (the Oil Festival)

The Market of La Foradà came into existence in December of 2013 thanks to the efforts of the local cultural association Unió Cultural d’Amics i Amigues de la Vall de Gallinera, with the aim of being a market for regional organic products, without the intervention of intermediaries, as well as seeking to dignify the products of La Vall de Gallinera within the market.

The Market of La Foradà is held on the second Sunday of each month, from October to April. There are two important festivities that take place annually which are linked to this market: the solar alignment of La Foradada and the so-called Festa de l’Oli (the Oil Festival).

The solar alignment of La Foradada is the most emblematic natural event in La Vall de Gallinera: twice a year (on the 4th of October and the 9th of March) the sun shines through the hole in the summit of La Foradada before giving way to night, illuminating the old Franciscan convent of Benitaia, precisely on the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi

In some books there are texts mentioning this tradition that on Saint Francis’ Day the sunlight passed through the arch of La Foradada and illuminated the Gallinera convent. One of these documents, written around 1620, is kept in the National Historical Archive, in the Osuna section, 735/2-29. It was written by the Franciscan friar Antonio Panes and is entitled Noticias que dio el Guardián del Convento, por donde parece que los Exmos. Señores Duques de Gandia como señores de las Valles de Gallinera y Ebo, son Patronos del dicho Convento, que se titula de San Andrés. One of the fragments of the text says:

The place where the convent is located is on the slope, under a mountain which in winter, interposed its great height, prevents the sun from reaching it, barely having three hours to enjoy, but one thing is noteworthy, that it does not seem to lack a pious motive, and it is that on the fourth day of October (which is the feast of Saint Francis) when the sun enters through a rock that is pierced, it falls directly on our convent, and with its light and brightness gives it joy, as they have not been able to suffer its rays, that on such a festive day, the mountain opposes it, and thus they penetrate the rock, and drill it.

The same text can also be found in the third book of Chronica de la Provincia de San Ivan Bavtista, de Religiosos Menores Descalzos de la Regvlar Observancia de Nvestro Seraphico Padre San Francisco, in chapter VII, entitled “De la Congregacion Intermedia del Provincial Fray Geronimo Planes y fundación del Convento de San Andres de Gallinera” (Panes 1665: III 456-457).

But it all remained a simple tradition or folk story that even many of the inhabitants of the valley did not know about. It was not known for sure if the alignment actually happened and, if so, the exact time and the exact place where the light shone.

When an investigation was undertaken, all doubts were resolved. From now on everyone can enjoy this magnificent show that is repeated twice a year, on the 4th of October (the Feast Day of Saint Francis) at 6.20 p.m., and on the 9th of March (the Feast Day of Saint Frances of Rome) at 5:42 p.m.

José Lull’s original study was published in the book Trabajos de Arqueoastronomía: ejemplos de África, América, Europa y Polinesia, entitled “La alineación solar del convento franciscano de Benitaya en La Vall de Gallinera”.

Due to this reason, both in March and in October, the Market of La Foradà is one of the fundamental events related to the solar alignment of La Foradada.

In 2015, coinciding with the second anniversary of this market, it was decided to join forces with the local government of La Vall de Gallinera to set up the Oil Festival, a festival that, just like the Cherry Festival, aims to draw attention to and to dignify an intimately local product: the valley’s olive oil.

 

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