Elche

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Elche

(ĕl`chā), Valencian Elx, city (1990 pop. 184,912), Alicante prov., SE Spain, in Valencia. It is surrounded by an extensive grove of date palms, the only one of its kind in Europe. The city's industries produce footwear, soap, olive oil, and palm products. Elche preserves a North African atmosphere. Many Iberian, Greek, Roman, and Moorish artifacts have been found in the area, notably the Lady of Elche, a stone bust (presumed to date from the 5th cent. B.C.) now in Madrid's National Museum of Archaeology. An annual drama dating from the Middle Ages marks the feast of the Assumption.

Elche

 

a city in Spain, on the Viñalopo River; located in Alicante Province, in the region of Valencia. Population, 122,700 (1970). Elche is the center of an agricultural region producing olives, almonds, and pomegranates. The city manufactures leather and footwear, vegetable oil, soap, and flour.

Mystery Play (Elche)

August 14-15
El Misterio d'Elx, or the Mystery Play of Elche, is a medieval drama about the death and assumption of the Virgin Mary that takes place in August on the Feast of the Assumption in Elche, a town in Valencia, Spain. The first part of the play is performed on August 14, the day before the feast, and it deals with the death of the Virgin and the ascension of her soul to heaven on a throne, or araceli, carried by five angels. In the second part, performed on August 15, the Virgin is buried and the Gate of Heaven opens. The araceli descends a second time and takes the Virgin away. She is crowned at the heavenly portal while organ music plays, bells ring, and firecrackers explode.
The mystery play is performed from a raised platform in the sanctuary of the Church of La Merced. It is considered by many to be one of Spain's greatest religious dramatic survivals, and it is believed to date back to the early 13th century.
CONTACTS:
Valencia Tourist Office
Communitat Valenciana, Aptdo. de Correos 48
Burjassot, 46100 Spain
34-902-123-212; fax: 34-902-220-211
www.comunitat-valenciana.com
SOURCES:
FestEur-1961, p. 141
FestWestEur-1958, p. 203
SpanFiestas-1968, p. 164

Mystery Play (Tibet)
January-February; last day of Tibetan year
Originally performed by a devil-dancing cult to drive out the old year along with its demons and human enemies, this annual dramatic presentation was known to Tibetans as the Dance of the Red-Tiger Devil and to Europeans as the Pageant of the Lamas or the Mystery Play of Tibet. Under Buddhist influence, it was seen as symbolizing the triumph of the Indian missionary monks, led by Padmasambhava ( see also Hemis Festival and Paro Tshechu), over pagan devils, and more recently, it has been changed to represent the assassination of Lang-darma, the king who tried to rid Tibet of Lamaism. Despite its many transformations over the years, however, the play continues to retain the devil-dancing features of its earliest form.
It is performed on the last day of the year in the courtyards of Buddhist temples or monasteries and continues for two days. A group of priests in black miters is confronted by one group of demons after another, which they manage to exorcize. On the second day, a dough effigy representing the enemies of Tibet and Lamaism is dismembered and disemboweled. Pieces of the effigy are thrown to the audience, who eat them or keep them to use as talismans. The play is followed by a burnt offering and a procession.
See also Losar
CONTACTS:
Office of Tibet
Tibet House, 1 Culworth St.
London, NW8 7AF United Kingdom
44-20-7722-5378; fax: 44-20-7722-0362
www.tibet.com
SOURCES:
DictFolkMyth-1984, p. 777 (c)

Elche

a town in S Spain, in Valencia: noted for Iberian and Roman archaeological finds and the medieval religious drama performed there annually: fruit growing, esp dates, pomegranates, figs. Pop.: 207 163 (2003 est.)