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Mystery in Elche

Religious celebration representing the death and assumption of the Virgin.

It is a lyrical play of Medieval origins that has been performed since the 13th century, in line with other representations of the Assumption that were performed in Mediterranean Europe. The play is based on several texts from the Apocryphal Gospels, quite popular during the Middle Ages. The text of the play is written in Valencian, except for a psalm and some verses in Latin, and consists of a total of 259 verses. The musical part offers the most noteworthy characteristics. The melodies come from different periods and were added with the works of a variety of composers.

This portentous religious play, the last remaining vestige of primitive lyrical theatre, is also the only one in the world performed in a church -the basilica of St. Mary-, thanks to a special privilege given by Pope Urbano VIII. It is divided into two acts: the first is of the death of the Virgin, attended by angel apostles, and the second is the Assumption of Our Lady to heaven. The Mystery of Elche is a beautiful show, with exquisite arcane music. The play consists of the angel descending on the 'Mangrama', with a beautifully decorated white palm in his hands, which he presents to the Virgin Mary. She then presents it to the Apostle John. Before being presented to the Apostle, the palm is kissed by the Virgin, so anointing it with the best of blessings. This grace transcends to the town when the branches of the palm are handed out following the play. Then, the 'Misteri' is taken to the streets in a procession of the 'burial' of Mary with songs from the 'Festa' and the participation of actors.

Other information: Annual religious fiesta celebrated in Elche.


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