In 1977, the community of Quart de Poblet of Valencia created its first official passeja in honor of Saint San Onofre. Today, the popular fireworks-laden festival takes place annually.
The elders of that village tell a story about an event that took place at the end of spring in 1723. In that year, they said, the situation with the farmers of Quart de Poblet was horrendously bleak, and the majority of the village suffered greatly due to a terrible drought. The drought in that part of Spain lasted almost 2 months and almost no rain fell anywhere close by. The surrounding river, too, almost completely dried up and the abundant small ponds disappeared and offered no water to drink.
On June 9th, however, all of that changed. Dark clouds gathered and huge thunderheads rose up high in the sky. Since many had been continually praying to Saint San Onofre, they honored him for having heard their prayers to help save them and their children from this waterless plight. Unfortunately, before the rains came, large hail began to fall on the village. Happiness quickly turned to fear and desperation. Because of the drought, people knew the harvest would be poor, but intense hail like this meant the complete loss of all of their crops and famine and death. So, the farmers decided to go into their fields during the night to try to retrieve any edible food that might have survived the heavy hail and rain. It was then they understood the miracle: although heavy hail had damaged much in the village, only gentle rain had fallen in the fields to nurture their crops. Saint San Onofre had protected their fields, and because of this, the food would be plentiful. Overjoyed, the townspeople met at their sacred chapel and began a procession to honor San Onofre with fireworks and prayers in thanks for his miraculous intervention.
Presently, to honor his beneficence, every June 9th this tradition is continued: the saint is carried in a procession through Quart de Poblet from the Chapel of Sant Onofre to the Church of Parroquia de la Purísima Concepción, accompanied by music of “tabalet y dolçaina” and fireworks with “tenazas”, “salvas”, “fuegos artifiales” and traditional “rodaes de foc” located in special places throuhgout the village.
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