The suspension of the Fiestas del Pilar and the return of the Aragonese capital to Phase 2 made more flexible since last Thursday, October 8, and until the 14th, on the occasion of the holiday bridge, has made the traditional Flower Offering not organized this year to avoid coronavirus infections. However, the people of Zaragoza will celebrate it on the balconies and it can also be carried out virtually on the website ‘www.ofrendadeflores.com’.
The offering It is one of the central acts of the Fiestas del Pilar, which brings together thousands of people, who make up a mantle made up of millions of flowers, at the foot of a sculpture of the Virgin that is placed in the Plaza del Pilar. The maximum number of participating groups was reached in 2019, with 803, a year in which around 300,000 bidders attended..
The pandemic has forced to look for alternatives and the City Council has enabled computers in five civic centers to facilitate participation in the virtual offering, an initiative that aims to continue, with the aim of bridging the digital divide, especially among the elderly.
Those interested can go to the civic centers of San José, La Almozara, University, Río Ebro and Delicias where staff from the Zaragoza Volunteer will guide you in your offering. It is operational on October 13, 14, 15 and 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and October 17 and 18 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Also at the initiative of the Consistory, and in collaboration with the Association of Florists of Aragón, they want to make up the shortfall in flower sales with a contest to decorate balconies and terraces, which has three prizes of one hundred euros each. Participants can upload up to two photos to Instagram with the hashtag ‘#ofrendabalconeszgz’.
With both initiatives, it seeks maintain the tradition of bringing flowers to the Virgin and avoid crowds in the Plaza del Pilar, whose 13 entrances will have a security device formed by a police patrol to monitor that the capacity is not exceeded.
The Zaragoza City Council has made numerous calls for responsibility both from Zaragoza, as well as possible visitors who have been discouraged from concentrating on the Plaza del Pilar and its surroundings.
In addition, the mayor, Jorge Azcón, has issued a statement informing all the residents of the city that this year there are no Fiestas del Pilar due to the pandemic of coronavirus to prevent the spread of infections. “There cannot, nor should” be celebrations, he said.
Likewise, they are carried out surveillance and control tasks to avoid ‘bottles’ on the banks of the Ebro, parks – where night lighting has also been reinforced – and in the La Romareda area.
The Local Security Board has agreed on a special device that includes the availability of the entire staff of the Zaragoza Local Police and also of the National Police, which could be reformed with agents from other cities. In addition, it has the collaboration of the Civil Guard.
Compliance with capacity
In addition to preventing crowds from occurring, this device monitors compliance with capacity in establishments and terraces. The Superior Court of Justice of Aragon (TSJA) has annulled the measure of the Government of Aragon to reduce the capacity to 50% inside bars and restaurants during Phase 2, although the order indicates that these establishments will not be able to offer bar service.
However, the 50% capacity is maintained for other enclosed spaces, such as the Basilica del Pilar, where 166 people will be able to access the Chapel of the Virgin to comply with the order of the Government of Aragon and up to 266 faithful in the area of the High Altar, where several masses will be celebrated, the one at 12.00 Day of the Pillar presided over by the Apostolic Administrator, Monsignor Vicente Jiménez.
This maximum capacity of 50% includes the exception of cultural activities that have a pre-assigned seat because it is easier to count attendees.
For its part, both the Federation of Interpeñas and the Unión Peñista de Zaragoza, which have 25 clubs and more than 12,000 members, have their headquarters closed and they have launched their respective videos on their social networks in which they appeal to responsibility and insist that this year “there are no fiestas del Pilar.”