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Our Lady of the Forsaken

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This weekend, always on the second Sunday in May, Valencia celebrates its patron saint, Our Lady of the Forsaken. The city’s most insane religious procession takes place on Sunday morning, and there are a few other events to keep your eye on.

Concert, Fireworks and Dance at Plaza de la Virgen – Saturday Night
At 11pm, the Municipal Band of Valencia takes the stage at the Plaza de la Virgen for a free, open-air concert, to kick off the weekend’s festivities. It’s very pleasant, in stark contrast to the music which will soon fill the square. After they’ve finished, a short but impressive fireworks display will be shot off over the Turia. It’s visible from the plaza, but if you want an unobstructed view, you should head down to the riverbed.

After the fireworks have ended, folkloric music, castanets, elaborate costumes, and dancing fill the plaza in an interminable dance. Hundreds of falleros prance to the squealing, whistling sounds of flutes and other woodwinds. The musicians play the same song over and over, and I promise, you won’t be able to get it out of your head for days. And you will want to, desperately.

Check out our 2009 coverage of the dance & fireworks

Open Air Mass – Sunday Morning
Taking place at the ungodly hour of 5am, la misa descubierta is only for early risers, and guilt-ridden late-night party people. It takes place at the Royal Chapel, and since we’ve never gone and never will, I won’t comment further.

The Traslado – Sunday, 10:30am
This is the highlight of the festival, and one of the absolute must-see events on the calendar. Even the non-religious can’t help but be moved by the spectacle of the Virgen de los Desamaparados being carried from her Basilica to the Cathedral. It’s a very long 200 meters, from door to door, with the path being obstructed by thousands of rabid Catholics clamoring to touch the virgin, who will stop at nothing. With rose petals raining down from the balconies, true believers crying and shaking, desperate parents literally throwing their babies at the statues, the men buckling under the virgin’s weight as come perilously close to dropping her over and over… it’s a sight you can’t miss. Incredible. If you’re not sure, just check out our 2008 & 2009 coverage.

Mascletà – Sunday, 14:00
The cage is gone and this mascletà should be a great one.

Official Procession – Sunday, 18:30
It has the Virgin, but none of the craziness. This is a long, solemn and much calmer parade. The end is nice, when the bishop and important politicians walk by, with Our Lady hot on their heels, but until then, it’s just so many ladies dressed in black, and dudes in suits. The route goes like this:

Pl. Virgen, Caballeros, Tossal, Bolsería, Mercado, María Cristina, San Vicente, Pl. Reina, Mar, Avellanas, Palau, Almoina

Ronda a la Verge – Monday, 20:30
On Monday evening, there’s more traditional music on the menu in the Pl. Virgen. Grab a seat at one of the cafés, and allow yourself to unwind from a crazy weekend.

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May 7, 2010 at 9:59 am Comments (0)

Jan 22nd – Holiday of San Vicente Mártir

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You’ll probably have noticed that the stores in Valencia are closed again today. The reason this time is the celebration of San Vincente Ferrer, the city’s patron saint. This is a festival for just the city of Valencia — outside the city nucleus, life continues as normal.

Vinceter Ferrer Valencia

The main event of the day is a procession at noon from the Cathedral, down C/ La Paz. Appropriate to the veneration of a martyr, this is a solemn affair, not musical or lively.

Last year, we wrote a longer article about the history of San Vicente Mártir, with a lot of pictures from the parade. If you unsure about whether to attend today’s event, check it out!

Photos form Xativa

January 22, 2010 at 8:30 am Comments (2)

San Antonio – Pics & Video

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Dieser Artikel auf Deutsch: Der Große Antonio in Valencia

January 17th is the day of San Antonio, patron saint of animals. In Valencia, celebrations center on the neighborhood and church which bear his name, where people bring their pets to march in a crazy parade and get blessed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many 4-legged creatures in one place — dogs were the most numerous, but they were joined by cats, hamsters, rabbits, goats, pigs, fish, lizards, birds… and just about everything else you could possibly consider a "pet".

As you might expect, we got a lot of fun pictures. Enjoy!


















bride-bitch cat-on-a-leash












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January 18, 2010 at 2:44 pm Comments (5)

October 9th – Day of the Valencian Community

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October 9th is the Day of the Valencian Community, kind of like 4th of July in the States. Though, I suppose it’s different, because it’s a celebration for a specific Spanish state and not the country as a whole. We don’t have any equivalent holiday for just Ohio (where I’m from). But then again, Ohio doesn’t have its own language, a millennium of heritage, or really much worth celebrating at all. Besides buckeye cookies.

Valencia Holiday

King James the First of Aragon reclaimed Valencia for Christianity on October 9th, 1238, and it’s the day remembered as the birth of the Kingdom of Valencia. Here’s a rundown of the commemorative events which will be taking place on the 9th, this year.

October 8th @ Midnight – International Festival of Pyrotechnics

Preceding the official events of the 9th, the city invites pyrotechnic artists from all over the world to put on a massive fireworks display in the riverbed of the Turia on the evening of October 8th. (Alamada metro station)

Noon – Lowering of the Senyera

The Senyera is Valencia’s flag, and at noon it will be lowered down from the Ayuntamiento’s balcony. This was pretty eventful last year, with Catalan nationalists intruding on the celebration.

12:20 – Civic Procession

After the Senyera is lowered, it will be paraded around the Ciutat Vella by functionaries like the mayor and various Valencian groups. There will be a special stop for a flower offering, at the statue of King James in the Parterre park (location). This procession will end at Plaza Ayuntamiento where the Senyera will be handed over again to the city. Followed by a Mascletà.

17:00 – Public Dance

Don’t miss folk music and traditional dancing in the Plaza de la Virgen.

17:30 – Entrance of Christians & Moors

Starting at the Glorieta park (location), a procession of Christians and Moors takes the city’s streets. This should be colorful and probably more entertaining than the 12:30 civic parade. The parade’s conclusion, there will be a mascletà in the Pl. del Ayuntamiento.

It’s going to be a full day. Don’t forget that shops will be shut and restaurants more expensive. This is one of the biggest holidays on the Valencian calendar!

Firework Video / Mascletà Video

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October 6, 2009 at 12:56 pm Comments (2)

Our Lady of the Forsaken Part 2: Insanity & Parades

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This weekend it was all about the Virgin. Thousands upon thousands of people took part in the various events which we previewed last Friday. Here’s the second of two parts from our report for 2009. The first can be found here.

Baby Tossing

On Sunday morning at 10:30, the Virgin is brought out of her basilica, paraded around the Plaza de la Virgen, and then brought into the cathedral — a tiny procession lasting just 30 minutes. “How pleasant and non-threatening”, you think. HA! YOU ARE A FOOL.

Another video of the virgin leaving the Basilica filmed from above, sent in by @mariacervantes; she also took some pics

During the procession, thousands of believers are trying to touch the virgin and they will stop at nothing to be blessed. People just lose their freaking minds; crying, screaming, crowd-surfing, pushing, cackling and (awesomely) passing their infant children to strangers, who pass them to other strangers, who pass them to other strangers, who foist them upon the virgin and then pass them back again. It is shocking.

[Years later]
“Mommy, I won again! I’ve always been super lucky!”
“Oh yeah, um. That’s because I let some stranger throw you against a statue when you were 6 months old.”
“… I hate you, Mommy.”


Honestly, this procession is kind of terrifying … at one point, I was being shoved from both the front and behind, and thought I might get trampled. But if you’re prepared for the madness, the fervor of the believers is truly something to behold.


More information and many more images here:

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May 12, 2009 at 4:24 pm Comments (6)

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