“Els ninots”, or the dolls, of San Cristóbal

This celebration takes place during the festival in honour of L’Alcora’s patron saint, San Cristóbal (11 July).

In the beginning of the 20th century, the very agricultural town of L'Alcora had just finished its harvest and the corresponding threshing, which brought the yearly agricultural cycle to an end. This was the eve of the San Cristóbal festival, the patron par excellence. Some of the main streets were decorated. The residents went to great lengths to hang up their respective Ninots, or dolls, in a cordial and festive atmosphere. Although a cheap celebration born in a rural world; it was very popular and many people took part in it. The schedule of events was completed by different foods served in terraces erected in the streets, traditional dances and interesting card games. In the past, the town’s children would mark the festival with their nearby rejoicing.

In June, when students only had half days at school, they would all run to the threshing in the afternoon to wait for the ‘trill’. Over there, in some agricultural labouring areas, a rough system was used on the wheat sieves to separate the grain from its stalk and chaff. A large group of children would climb up on a plank (the trill) and then go round and round in circles like a merry-go-round. The children’s weight helped the silex stones on the underside of the plank to work mmore efficiently.
Old clothing, the aforementioned stalks, a small amount of sawdust and lots of rope were all that was needed to make the Ninots.

A complete San Cristóbal festival consists of a river crossing around midday, a procession in the afternoon and an emotional ending at night, when the burning Ninots light up the sky.

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