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Christmas for Kids in Mercado Colón

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Christmas at the Mercado Central; the events described are at the Mercado Colón.

The rain is depressing, but if you have kids, you can distract them from the weather with the holiday program at Mercado Colón.

Every day until January 6th (save Christmas and New Year’s Day), there is something exciting for children, taking place in the Mercado. Today, Santa is receiving kids from 10-14. I wonder… does he say “ho-ho-ho” in Spanish, too?

Other highlights a tribute to High School Musical on the 26th at 18:30, The Adventures of Pinocchio with puppets at noon on Sunday, a magic show at noon on the 31st, and a clown show at noon on the 2nd. The full list of activities can be found (in Spanish) here: Programa Mercado Colón PDF

Location of Mercado Colón on our Valencia Map

Christmas Gifts
December 24, 2009 at 8:05 am Comments (0)

Nativity Scene in the Cathedral

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This year’s nativity scene is up and ready to be visited in the city cathedral. The artist, Daniel José Pons, has added 30 new figures and the display is even bigger than last year’s, which is shocking. Around 6000 animal pieces join over 300 humans in this gigantic display.

At 15 meters long, and with a depth of 8 meters, this nativity scene is a must for Christmas fanatics. But be prepared for a wait and a pushy, impatient crowd — the “belén” is extremely popular. I’ve noticed that the smallest and most pious looking Spanish elderly ladies are those most likely to cut in line. Stay alert.

It’s free to visit, and will be open until January 6th. Weekday hours are from 10:00 – 13:30 and 17:00 – 20:30. Weekends & holidays are from 11:00 to 13:30, and 18:00 to 20:30.

More pictures:


Fallas in Valencia

December 18, 2009 at 5:45 pm Comments (0)

Procession of the Three Kings

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We’ve all been to those parades where candy is thrown into the crowd. The throwers, perched atop shoddily-constructed floats, are usually weak-wristed children who can barely launch the treats past the first row, and you’re lucky if you end up with a single crushed Jolly Rancher picked up off the street.

Well, the procession of the Three Kings (Reyes Magos), held on January 5th all over Spain, does not disappoint candy-seekers. In fact, by the middle of Valencia’s parade, we found ourselves seeking shelter, praying that the devastating rain of candy would finally stop. It never did.

I’ve never seen anything like it. You didn’t even have to try and catch the candy that was thrown, because it would inevitably catch you — in the hood if you were lucky, but we saw more than one unfortunate get whacked in the forehead.

And they weren’t just passing out candy, but also toys. Real toys, worth actual money. Just throwing them into the crowd! As the float for the Valencian football team passed, a plush cuddly “I Love Valencia” heart was tossed right at Juergen and I. Neither of us are proficient catchers, and it bobbled out of my hands, into Juergen’s hands, and finally onto the ground where a little girl picked it up. She hardly had enough time to smile before we yanked it back away from her. Survival of the fittest, sweetie.

This parade, in short, was insane and incredibly fun. If you happen to be in Spain on the 5th of January, it’s something you absolutely must not miss.

January 7, 2009 at 4:12 pm Comments (2)

Arrival of the Three Kings of the Orient

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The biblical Three Wise Men, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar arrive today onto the shores of Malvarrosa, at 5pm.

Journey of the Magi (1902) by James Tissot

Spanish tradition puts the three kings (Reyes Magos) into the role served by Santa Claus in the USA: bringing presents, treats and toys to children.

Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar arrive on a boat, and will be welcomed in a ceremony at the port, before being brought to Paseo Alameda. There, they’ll preside over a huge parade, slated for 6pm this afternoon.

The parade will take the kings down Alameda, over the Calatrava bridge, down C/ Paz, through the Plaza de la Reina, and eventually to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, where they’ll be greeted at approximately 20h by Valencia’s mayor, Rita Barbará. It sounds as though it’s going to be an impressive parade, with over 40 floats, thousands of participants and the stated goal of “delighting children”.

Sorry about the late notice. I’m used to the Holidays ending on January 1st, and this event sneaked up on me!

January 5, 2009 at 9:41 am Comments (2)