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Paseo de las Rocas 2010

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Crazy weather tried, but wasn’t able to totally dampen the Corpus Christi festivities this year, and we made sure to show up for at the Palacio Arzobispal for the Paseo de las Rocas.

Close your eyes, and imagine a magical land called Pony Paradise, where diminutive horses are fed sugared hay on cotton candy sticks, and get deep horse-muscle massages from enslaved jockey midgets.

Corpus Christi 2010

Now open your eyes again, because the Paseo de las Rocas is the exact opposite of Pony Paradise. It is HORSEY HELL. At the Palacio Arzobispal, the smallest horses are selected to drag the mammoth Rocas up the hill. Fat, sadistic Valencians “encourage” them with vicious stick beatings, laughing as the ponies bray and buckle under the weight, sometimes collapsing onto their knees.

Naturally, it’s one of my favorite events! I always make sure to show up early, to jeer at the stupid ponies and take pictures of their hilarious suffering. Hey now don’t look at me that way, my family was slaughtered by a wild band of crazy horses. They are my enemies.

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Paseo Rocas
Giant Corpus Christi
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Moma 2010

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June 7, 2010 at 3:26 pm Comments (4)

Corpus Christi 2010

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Corpus Christi Valencia

The festivities for Corpus Christi, one of Valencia’s most important holidays, get underway tomorrow and run through the weekend. Huge statues, creepy white-robed ladies, elaborately decorated balconies and unfairly burdened ponies are just some of the things you can expect. Here’s a quick rundown of the main events:

Saturday, June 5th
all day – The Rocas, centuries-old wooden structures which illuminate the “mysteries” of the Catholic faith will be on display all day.
19:00 – Performance of “The Mysteries” in the Plaza de la Virgen. If memory serves, it’s mainly for and by children.
23:00 – Concert by the Valencian Municipal Band in the Plaza de la Virgen. They’re always worth catching, especially if it’s a pleasant summer evening.
00:00 – Festive parade during which the best-decorated balconies are awarded prizes.

Sunday, June 6th
9:00 – Bell concert from the Miguelete, the bell tower of the city cathedral. You say “concert”, I say “maddening cacophony”.
12:00Cabalgata del Convite. Really, if you see just one parade this year in Valencia, make it this one. With crazy costumes, including La Moma, fun dancing and lively music, this is the most fun parade I’ve ever seen. Stand along Calle Avellanas, to see Herod’s henchmen get drenched with water from the balconies… just don’t stand too close if you want to stay dry.
16:30 – The 2nd of the day’s parades is the Paseo de las Rocas, when tiny horses carry the enormous Rocas through the city streets. As the parade comes around the Palacio Arzobispal, bets are made on whether the smallest horse in each convoy can drag its Roca up the slight hill. It’s exciting and cruel.
17:30 – Dance of the giants in the Pl. Virgen. Huge figures and groups of costumed people dance around the plaza. Last year, we met two wild-eyed Catholic German girls here, who tried to convert us to their faith.
19:00 – Solemn Procession of the Corpus. Alright kids, the fun is over, and this dreary parade lives up to its name. Women in black and men in suits walk solemnly down the street, on their way to the cathedral.

It’s a lot; a lot of parades, music, dancing, events. I’m exhausted just typing it out. The best thing to do is probably just plan to spend your weekend around the Plaza de la Virgen, which is where most of the action takes place.

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June 3, 2010 at 8:09 am Comments (0)

Paso de las Rocas – Corpus Christi in Valencia

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The Paso de las Rocas is the 2nd of the Corpus Christi day parades, which were celebrated this year on June 14th. Click here to read our post about the first parade, the cabalgata del Convite.

The Rocas are huge wooden floats, some of them dating from the 16th century, which depict Biblical and other religious events important to Valencia and are only brought out during Corpus Christi.


During the parade, 2 horses drag each Roca through the city streets. These things are heavy. While the parade route is downhill (down Calle Bolsería, for example) the horses don’t have any problems. At the parade’s end, though, their luck changes. The final stretch, towards the Archbishop’s palace is uphill.

“That’s no problem!”, thinks the littlest horse, turning towards his larger and stronger buddy. “Together, we can do anything!”


For the final uphill stretch, they unhitch the larger horse and force the smaller one to go it alone. And the onlookers bet on whether or not he’ll make it. As long as one doesn’t belong to PETA or have too strong a view on animal cruelty, it’s awesome. Those little horses — almost ponies — fight, struggle, pull and collapse onto one knee, in their furious efforts to drag the Rocas those final few meters.

Add it to the list of weird Valencian parades. There are more than enough.


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June 21, 2009 at 2:46 pm Comment (1)

Corpus Christi 2009 – Cabalgata del Convite

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Valencia held its main 2009 Corpus Christi celebrations on Sunday, June 14th. If you like parades, followed by more parades, you’d have found paradise in the city today.


The first one got started at noon. Called the Cabalgata del Convite this was an extremely lively procession for a Sunday morning. There were various groups of characters performing dances; from 8 little shepherd boys, to a maypole dance, to the “momos” — a group of 7 demons representing the deadly sins who dance around a white, hooded figured. This lady in white is known as La Moma, and is probably the most emblematic character of Corpus Christi. She represents virtue.

But the fun really kicked into high gear as the parade’s final section arrived at Calle Cabillers and Avellanas. A club-wielding group of King Herod’s henchman threatened the crowd, reenacting everyone’s favorite biblical event — la degolla, or the slaughter of the innocents.

The crowd, though, would have its revenge. From every balcony, buckets of water rained down upon the henchmen (and anyone standing too close). It was insane fun, and if you happened to be on the street, there was no way to avoid getting a little wet. The henchmen loved it and howled for more… and we just tried to protect our camera! Good thing it was a hot, sunny day.

We’ll be posting shortly on the day’s other processions.


Photographer in Valencia

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June 17, 2009 at 3:53 pm Comments (4)

Street Fireworks – Engraellat at Almirante Cardoso

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The engraellat is a unique kind of street firework, which we had the dubious honor of “experiencing” (or: “being assaulted by”) on Saturday June 13th, as part of the celebrations for Corpus Christi.

Click on the image for a much larger version – Can anyone translate this for us?

L’Engraellat is actually the ancestor of the modern mascletà, which we all know from Fallas. The only place it’s currently practiced is at Almirante Cardoso / Conde Altea (location). Its setup, before it starts exploding and making your head shake, looks innocent enough. There are a bunch of little canisters (“cañoncitos“) spread out intricately about the street. But each of these is filled with gunpowder, and they’re all attached to the same fuse.

The result is massive noise. We should know better, by now, than to continue showing up at these things. Check out the video — I tried my best to contain the horrified squeals which were itching my throat.


A) What can possibly be the point of this, besides to deafen the city’s populace?
B) Why would people be clapping at the end of it?
C) Why do we continue to seek these street mascletàs out?
D) Did you see the granny escape in the video, around 1:33? Clever broad.


The Falleras had a blast:


There’s more information about Engraellats here, but only in Spanish.

Strange collection of canned backpacker food

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June 15, 2009 at 7:52 am Comments (3)

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