The part of Mojácar known as Cuartillas recently held its own eagerly anticipated fiesta in honour of its patron saint San Antonio, brought about by the hard work, affection and perseverance of people for this revived celebration.
After seventy forgotten years, it was revived three years ago, bringing back all those memories and, the celebration grows, extending to an extra day this time. Starting on the Friday with a band and open air dance, it was followed by a mass in honour of San Antonio the next day, when the specially decorated bread rolls, made with the age old traditional recipe, were blessed and given out to the parishioners.
Prominence is always given to the most senior person and, the opening speech was made by Doña Paula Martínez de Haro, the last teacher at the old Cuartillas School, which she opened up every day for 11 years. Many locals who are now trying to regain their neighbourhood learned to read and write with her until she closed the classrooms for the final time, saying goodbye to her beloved students as the sounds of their laughter and play faded away.
The Neighbours Association, Asociación de Vecinos de Cuartillas, was not only created for this celebration however, as work goes on throughout the year with the aim of recovering an area that in its time was an important nucleus with a population of over 100. Now, it is their children and grandchildren who are bringing back the life that stopped in the postwar period and, recovering the old chapel and the original image of
San Antonio, have been the two main priorities.
The ancient chapel, the Ermita of San Antonio is however located on private land and the original image of San Antonio, which went to Barcelona with the family that rescued it from the almost abandoned building is now unlikely to return to its place of origin.
However, both setbacks are not deterring those loyal to the cause in seeking a new location and image, for which funding and resources are needed. Money is being raised by lottery and other ways and any help, however small, that anyone can offer is welcomed in order to have a small place to worship and a new San Antonio.
Both these things would be welcomed with the same love and enthusiasm as in bygone years, bringing together the spirit of the many generations that have given life to a neighbourhood that today refuses to disappear.