Fiestas del Pilar – the floral offering to the Virgin

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Posted September 15, 2017 by zaragozaturismo in Culture

The Fiestas del Pilar are just around the corner!

During these holidays, colours and joy invade the city and all kinds of events are held for all audiences. But the central and emblematic event is without any doubt the offering of flowers to the Virgin of Pilar on October 12.

This day, hundreds of thousands of citizens and people coming from Aragon and all over Spain as well as from all around the world, dressed in their regional costumes parade before the Virgin of the Pilar to lay at her feet millions of flowers brought as tribute to the patron saint of the Aragonese and the Hispanic community.

The history of the offering can be traced in the forties of the twentieth century, when the little chapel situated behind the altar of the Virgin was being decorated during holidays. But it was in 1958 when the city councilor in charge of festivities introduced a popular and participative event within the program, similar to the floral offerings that were held in the Spanish Levante

In 1960, the floral offering was already considered “traditional” and in 1964 made the special edition newspapers headlines. No doubt the success of the offering of flowers contributed to the fact that the Fiestas del Pilar were declared in 1965 “Festival of national tourist interest

During those years, the offering was carried out at the foot of a replica of the Virgin located on the façade of the Basilica.

In the 1990s, the filmmaker Bigas Luna, great expert of the Fiestas and the city, encouraged to relocate the floral offering, placing the Virgin Mary in the middle of the Plaza del Pilar. The result was more than satisfactory, the offering gained spectacularity and more surface for the mantle of flowers. The entire structure measures around 15 meters of height and 16 of width. The image of the Virgin located at the top of the pyramid measures 3m including the height of the crown and cape, and about 7m the whole structure.

Over the years, the offering has gone from having a participation of 2000 people in 1958 to more than 50,000 in 1980. In recent years the approximate number has been estimated around 25,000 participants per hour in parades of about 8 hours, offering around seven million flowers to the Virgin.

The only requirement to participate to the floral offering is wearing the traditional costume of any nation or region.

Would you like to participate in the offering? For individual participants, the Organization has set up several points of access at certain hours. More information here.

Check the official webpage of the Fiestas del Pilar for more information.

 


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