La Jira or Ultimo Jueves, literally the Last Thursday, is held on the last Thursday before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.
“Jiras” are fancy dress groups and associations with members of all ages who wear costumes around a common theme taking part in a parade that runs from 9pm from the historic centre. After 10pm, all members meet at Plaza Mayor square for a musical performance on stage, during which groups take turns singing to an original song accompanied by the music band. At the end of all performances, the Jiras traditionally hold a country style picnic together.
Since 2014, Jira Cultural Association has revived the commonly known “Sabado de Sobras” (Leftover Saturday) therefore providing a new opportunity to wear the costumes, enjoy a new parade, sing the songs again and deliver the prizes.
Although there are no written references concerning the beginnings of this celebration, oral tradition dates it back to at least the 19th century. At that point, the day was spent marching towards the fields and spending the day with friends. It was not until the 20th century that we started seeing what is today referred to as “Jiras”. And those taking part began to swap their regional costumes for fancy dress costumes since the 1930’s. After the Spanish civil war, the Jiras were suspended until they reappeared in the 1960’s, although in their original form. However, in the 1980’s, they resumed the tradition started in the 1920’s, when school children started to promote what is now their current shape.
A very traditional and compulsory thing to do on that day is to eat rice and rabbit and sweet French toast for pudding. A sweet that is almost exclusively eaten in this period, washed down by the traditional sweet wine. A unique, traditional celebration that carries a very strong weight among Aspe’s locals resulting in its acknowledgement as an Event of Provincial Tourist Interest in 2015.