Town Hall wants Legend of La Encanta celebration on San Juan night to be declared a Fiesta of Local Tourist Interest
Once again this year Rojales will be holding the traditional ascent of the Cabezo Soler hill, where tradition says the legend of La Encantá (the enchanted woman) happened. It will take place this Saturday June 23rd at 10pm, coinciding with the night of San Juan.
Since it s one of the municipality’s deepest rooted and heartfelt traditions, the Town Hall has announced they have started collecting data, testimonies, documents and photographs for a dossier stating its case to be declared a Fiesta of Local Tourist Interest by the Valencian Government, announced Councillor Pedro Llopis.
“The legend of La Encantá is known all over Spain. It is an oral story that is recorded in numerous anthropological studies about the magical celebrations on the eve of San Juan” he explained, adding that it is a “ritual which fuses tradition, customs and history that have been orally transmitted since centuries ago”.
The activity consists of climbing up the Cabezo Soler on the night of San Juan, a place that is reached by walking over three kilometres across hilly paths. Once there, a bonfire is lit at midnight at the foot of the hill, where according to traditional legend, a Moorish princess appears every 100 years.
Once the flames have died down, those present jump over the bonfire, dance around it and throw wishes they have written on paper into the fire. All of a sudden as the legend is being read out, several people appear dressed up as monsters and the princess.
The story says that La Encanta, the Moorish princess appears every 100 years so that a young man can break the spell put on her by her father centuries ago when southern Spain was Al Andalus. He has to wet his feet in the Rover Segura after overcoming various challenges, including attacks by monstrous and mythical beasts. Also a castle appears by magic from inside the hill.
If he succeeds he will be rewarded with the love of the princess and her treasures, but if he fails in his task the young man will die with his tongue sticking out.
Various researchers think the whole legend is a transcript of reality which hides historic episodes that have been modified over the passing years to incorporate magical and popular elements. In this case, at the top of the Cabezo Soler there are the remains of an Andalusi castle from the 12th century and at its foot the ancient Islamic farming town of Almodowar.
To join in this year’s recreation of the legend of La Encantá, meet by the Mercadona supermarket in Rojales at 10pm and bring a torch.