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Riberer Monument

The "Riberer" is a character of deep routed tradition in Benissa.

During centuries many of Benissa's men migrated on foot to the Júcar riverside (Ribera del Júcar), in the province of Valencia, to do casual work, such as sowing and harvesting, in the rice paddies in order to supplement the scarce income obtained from farming the dry Benissa countryside.

Beside the road to Valencia stands a large rock from which the farm labourers, on their way north to work in the rice paddies, could see for the last time the bell tower of the old church. At this spot the "riberers" or "blavets" (as they were called because of the blue smocks that most of them wore) stopped and said a prayer asking for protection during the time they would be away from home. (The monument represents this rite). For the journey the farmhands carried palm baskets containing dried sausages, salted fish, and bread baked at home by their mother or wife in wood ovens. Their clothes were patched and darned.

Benissa's migrant work force became so numerous that the Ribereros celebrated their own special day within the yearly Puríssima Xiqueta fiestas. The Monday following the forth Sunday of April (date of the patron's feast) these men were the main characters, and paid for, a day of festivities. Although since the 1950's the migration to the Ribera has gradually decreased and has almost totally stopped the fiestas still dedicate a day to the "Riberers" with festive activities that conclude with a floral offering at the monument (sculpture that was funded by the townsfolk and unveiled in the ‘80s).