What are the Fiestas del Pilar and why are they so well known?
In 1980 were declared Festivities of National Tourist Interest 1 and on September 27, 2019 Festivities of International Tourist Interest.
During these days the streets are filled with a unique festive atmosphere, pilgrims and tourists from different backgrounds gather to enjoy the festivities that take place throughout the week. Live concerts, theater, parades, outdoor activities, museums and other activities for children and adults are held during the festivities, so that recreational activities are intertwined with religious events. The Pilar festivities are a good opportunity to get to know the city, its history, gastronomy and culture.
But what is the offering of flowers?
The Offering of Flowers to the Virgen del Pilar is the most important and popular event of the Fiestas del Pilar. In 2019, the last year that it could be carried out in person, nearly 300,000 people participated, with participation from these countries: Bolivia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Japan, China, Ecuador, Romania, Chile, Nicaragua, Honduras, Peru, Colombia, Panama, Equatorial Guinea, Paraguay and El Salvador.
From early in the morning, individuals or groups, dressed in the typical costumes of their community or country, with their offerings depart from different parts of the city in the direction of the Basilica of the Virgin, where they deliver their offerings of flowers in honor of the patron saint of the city.
Since 1988, the offering has been made on a large column in the center of the Plaza del Pilar. In this way, the number of participants could be larger and, in turn, the mantle could be made up of more flowers.
The thousands of bouquets and flower centers are joined by the thousands of people who come from different countries, creating a rich mix of cultures and colors.
Zaragoza City Council uses para-technology to maintain tradition during the pandemic
The Offering of Flowers took the digital leap and during 2020 was adapted to the existing situation, trying to maintain the tradition, the city council took the opportunity to digitize the festivities and to reach everyone, regardless of where they were.
The Virtual Flower Offering closed with a total of 147,795 offerings made and 361,230 visits by 239,106 unique users.
2021: the virtual offering brings Zaragoza closer to the international public
As happened last year, visitors from all over the world will be able to make their offering and walk through the digital version of the Plaza del Pilar in an immersive experience that incorporates new features. Among them, a better recreated environment, including a night version, or the possibility of winning NFTs of emblematic objects of the city.
Despite the pandemic, capacity restrictions or the suspension of the Fiestas del Pilar, it is possible to make the Offering of Flowers to the Virgen del Pilar… but online! Zaragoza City Council through the Municipal Society Zaragoza Cultural resumes this Pilar 2021 its virtual offering of flowers, which last year received nearly 150,000 digital bouquets and that made it a pioneer in the development of digital initiatives that combine tradition and technology. In addition, it does so by incorporating important new features that aim that people who can not visit the Plaza del Pilar on its biggest day can still feel it close. Especially those who do not live in Zaragoza, because this year the platform, developed by the Zaragozan company Imascono, wants to serve as a showcase of the city for users outside Aragon and Spain.
As explained by the Deputy Mayor, Sara Fernandez, “last year this event showed the great devotion to the Virgen del Pilar and the great affection we have for this tradition, and we want everyone to get their message and enjoy the environment of the square”.
To this end, the virtual environment has been improved to make it even more real. Through the website www.ofrendadeflores.com, between October 9 and 17, visitors will be able to walk through a perfect recreation of the square, which will not only include the structure with the Virgen del Pilar, but also its surroundings and the traditional stage located next to the Fuente de Goya, on whose screens images related to the celebrations will be projected. In addition, this year a night mode has been included in which the only fireworks of the Pilar 2021 can be seen, because in the program of cultural events have not been included due to the difficulty of controlling the capacity.
Another novelty this year is the commitment to the ‘hybridization’ between the virtual offering and the real one: the participants in the first one will be able to see, next to the structure of the Virgin, two screens with images of the offering of previous years; and the 20,000 lucky offerers who will be in person in the square will see projected the messages that will be left next to the virtual bouquets. In this way, both offerings come together to create an experience that brings the people of Zaragoza and those who are far away closer to one of the most important events for the city.
“We want to reach more public, a younger audience through technology. In addition, the Virgen del Pilar has a great devotion outside our borders, so for us it means a great image of external projection” explains the deputy mayoress.
A virtual square full of prizes
The Zaragoza City Council wants the immersive experience linked to the virtual offering to go far beyond the events of October 12, so it has launched a fun game that will also give visitors the opportunity to win prizes.
Every day, between October 9 and 12, those who visit the virtual version of the square will be able to participate in the #RetoOfrenda, a very Zaragozan treasure hunt, since what will have to be found are baskets of cobblestones, the traditional sweet of the city. Walking from their device they will have to locate against the clock these treasures that, once found, will include a code that they will have to share via Twitter following the instructions included.
Those who do so will be entered into a sweepstakes to win these prizes:
October 9: Double ticket for Nathy Peluso’s concert + Double ticket for Bad Gyal’s concert.
October 10th: Double ticket for the Vetusta Morla concert + Double ticket for the Hombres G concert.
October 11th: Tourist experience in Zaragoza (Renfe train ticket for 2 people, hotel stay, lunch/dinner at Horeca Zaragoza restaurant and Zaragoza Turismo tourist pack.
October 12: Real Zaragoza T-shirt signed by Ander Herrera.
In addition, all these prizes will be linked to unique digital objects or NFTs (non fungible tokens), which represent emblematic elements of the city or, in the case of the October 12 draw, is linked to Ander Herrera.
Zaragoza City Council, a pioneer in NFT technology
With the inclusion of these awards, Zaragoza City Council is positioned as the first to create its own NFTs, unique and collectible objects that serve to digitize art and its intellectual property.
The consistory has created them inspired by typical elements of the city’s folklore, such as the cabezudos, so those who win one of the #RetoOfrenda prizes will own a part of Zaragoza’s culture and tradition.
NFTs represent one of the main technological and economic trends, and artists, sportsmen and important investment groups have already made moves similar to those of Zaragoza City Council, the first official body in Spain to use this technology to disseminate and preserve the values of its tradition and culture.