According to the legend, the chapel was built on the exact spot where many years ago, a young shepherd found a statue of Saint Cristina. Surprised by this unexpected discovery, he returned to the city and told the priest and the local residents about what he saw. A solemn procession was organized in order to move the statue to the parish church. To everyone’s surprise, on the next day, the statue disappeared. Theft was discarded as an option, since the image of the saint was made from neither gold, nor silver, but from plain wood. No one could carry off the statue and go unnoticed during the day, and at night the church was locked. Shortly after, the statue was found in the same place – on a coastal hillside, where it was discovered for the first time. Residents decided that the holy statue prefers to stay on the picturesque sea shore, and soon built a church on that spot, which is nowadays known as the Chapel of Saint Christina (Ermita de Santa Cristina).
The oldest tradition of Lloret de Mar is a holiday in honor of the patron saint of the city – St. Christina (Festa de Santa Cristina).
Festival is held every year, from 24 to 26 July, and begins with the procession (La Processó per Mar a Santa Cristina) to the chapel of the saint (Ermita de Santa Cristina).
The chapel is located at a distance of 3.5 km from main beach of Lloret de Mar, and in the past, participants’s path in the festive procession went through almost impassable rocky areas. For a very long time residents asked permission from the church clergy to hold the march procession on sea, from the beach of Lloret (Platja de Lloret de Mar) to the beach of Santa Cristina (Platja de Santa Cristina). Various circumstances prevented obtaining a permit, until, finally, Vatican gave its official blessing.
In the chapel takes place a festive Mass in honor of the saint, and then lunch awaits all participants, the main dish of which is traditionally a fish stew. In the afternoon the procession goes the way back, at the end of which a sea regatta is held. Participants try to sail faster than others and arrive first at the Lloret de Mar central beach. Usually on the shore a large number of spectators and fans gather to watch the race.
In the evening of the next day, a ball is organized on the town square. The main dance of it is “Dansa de les Almorratxes”, which translates as “Dances with jars of spices” – the oldest tradition of the city. Its history dates back to distant times, when the city was being attacked by Moorish and Berber tribes. According to the legend, a young Mauri fell in love with a local girl. Courtship and gifts did not bring any results for the young man, as the girl rejected his feelings because of differences in religion. Once during a local holiday the well-dressed young Mauri man dared to ask the girl to dance with him, and according to the local custom, gave her a jar filled with spices. But the proud Catholic threw the gift away, and thus, an expensive jar was smashed to smithereens. Since then, the dance has become a tradition.
In the dance participate four couples: men wear tuxedos and girls wear predominantly white dresses. They go into the center of the square, and during the dance men bring their ladies jugs with flowers and perfumed water, but in the end girls break the jugs against the pavement in memory of the legend.
Celebrations in honor of Santa Cristina are completed with a fireworks show, which takes place on July 26.