The massive Christmas Day celebrations that take place every year on the Cala Bosque beach (La Zenia) in Orihuela Costa are under threat after they were held without permission as there was no request for authorisation made by the Orihuela City Council to the Provincial Directorate of Coasts (Costas).

This has emerged in a response received by Councillor Dámaso Aparicio (PP) to a question addressed to the Councillor for Beaches, Antonio Sánchez (Cs), who stated that no request to hold the event was sent to the Costas.

The day brought together thousands of people who packed one of the most popular beaches in Orihuela with their smoky barbecues, plentiful consumption of alcoholic beverages, prohibited by law if it is an unauthorized public domain event, loud music and fancy dress.

It is a party that does not have an official permission but that proves to be great attraction, having been celebrated spontaneously for almost 20 years, so much so that it has now become a tradition for the thousands of foreign residents who live on the Orihuela coast.

As it’s popularity has grown over the years, the Local Police and the Civil Guard have always been on hand to regulate traffic, because of the massive influx of vehicles in the area, but the City Council failed to request permission from Costas to use the beach for an activity other than bathing.

Nearly 20 years ago it all began with an impromptu concert by ‘Just Brass’, a local brass band, that was attended by 2 or 300 people. As they returned year after year the popularity of the activity grew with little organisation and absolutely no council involvement until 2018 when the PP/C’s coalition government forced out ‘Just Brass’ imposing their own council arranged entertainment on the event. Their involvement lasted just 2 years as the event was then cancelled because of the onset of Covid-19.

However, with beach activities getting back to normal during the summer of 2022, the new PSOE/C’s coalition government failed to pick up on the event, despite the fact that many had been directly involved in it’s arrangements during previous years, so on Christmas Day, with plenty of pre event publicity on social media pages, the festivity went ahead once again, attracting many thousands to the macro party held on La Zenia beach.

Although not specifically mentioned it would seem that the question raised by Cllr Aparicio was instigated as a result of the damage caused by revellers in the areas where vegetation is recovering in the protected dunes, where the Coastal administration itself has made a significant investment by way of it’s preservation, an area that was used and trampled over by the constant passage of visitors, despite the fact that the area was visibly cordoned off, albeit only with plastic tape.

Local administrations do not usually request permission for beach parties that they don’t promote themselves and despite the repeated success of Christmas Day on La Zenia Beach, apart from 2 or 3 years prior to Covid, they have always looked the other way, totally ignoring the celebration.

Costas too ignore the event, to avoid the almost certain rejection of any request so that neither the municipality nor the Ministry are held responsible for the consequences.

As one local resident wrote on a post last week, “Ridiculous, we have lived here for 17 years and always gone to La Zenia on Christmas Day. Our councillors should be more concerned about the damage being done by the sewage that flows onto the beaches every time there is an episode of heavy rain, a story that never fails to attract negative International headlines.”