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Fiesta Corpus Christi in Valencia [60 Days After Easter]


What it is about

Fiesta of Corpus Christi in Valencia, SpainCorpus is the third biggest (after Christmas and Easter) Christian festivity celebrated in many parts of the Catholic word. It appears to be a party for the sake of the party - in XIII century the Pope simply told people to have a party on the 60th day after Easter. Every place interpreted it in their own way, and now the fiesta of Corpus is a diverse celebration, specific for every location.

In Valencia, the Corpus fiesta is about folk dancing, music, flowers, colourful religious procession and the Rocas - the real emblem of Valencia Corpus (see below).

The fiesta has been celebrated in Valencia for over 7 centuries. However, in the XIX and XX centuries it nearly vanished. It has been recovered very recently, although many of the elements were lost forever.

To see:

- the display of Rocas (ceremonial Corpus horse carts) Sat + Sun

- Misteries (plays), music and fireworks on Sat eve

- Folk carnival on Sun

- Parade of the Rocas on Sun

- Official procession on Sun

 

The RocasFiesta of Corpus Christi in Valencia, Spain

The Rocas are huge, elaborate festive horse carts created specifically for the Corpus fiesta. They are the emblem of Valencia Corpus Christi - the tradition of the Rocas is unique to Valencia. They are impressive works of art from many periods of history - out of 11 Rocas in the Valencia's squadron, the first one was constructed in 1512 and the last one in 2001. Each of the Rocas is dedicated to a particular biblical theme. In the past, the Rocas were mobile stages for symbolic theatric performances during the Corpus fiesta. These days, with that custom lost, the parade and exhibition of the Rocas are a cherished tradition for Valencia.

 

Fiesta of Corpus Christi in Valencia, Spain See gallery of the Rocas.


Programme of events.

Saturday - The Mysteries

The Rocas will have been on display in Plaza de la Virgen (Fiesta of Corpus Christi in Valencia, SpainPaginas Amarillas.es ) from 8pm on Friday. Today is a good opportunity to calmly appreciate the work on las Rocas and to take pictures. In the evening, at 19.30 the Plaza will stage the Mysteries. These are centuries old biblical plays. Traditionally, they were performed on las Rocas but these days they have a stage constructed for them. It's not a hell of a spectacle and you may find yourself yawning if you stay long, but it may be worth a quick look.

In conclusion, at 11pm the municipal band will play some traditional Valencian music and you can enjoy some fireworks.

 

Sunday

Sunday will have three major events. They are all worth seeing.

Length: 30 min
Fiesta of Corpus Christi in Valencia, Spain View Route
Fiesta of Corpus Christi in Valencia, Spain View Photos

Fiesta of Corpus Christi in Valencia, Spain

Sunday - 12pm - Cabalgata del Convite

This is a folk parade, taking you back in time to Medieval Valencia. You will see several centuries old dances performed by Valencians, including some really obscure costumes. All in all, a very good show. A curious tradition concluding the Cabalgata is Degolla: a big bunch of men, dressed as King Herod's henchmen rampage through the route, symbolising the slaughter of infants. You can even get (a very light) smack with a plastic baton yourself, if you stand close enough. It's a hillarious spectacle which will charge you up for the day. Just make sure you dont stand under balconies - some residents take revenge on the fiends by pouring buckets of water over their heads.

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Sunday - 16.30pm - Parade of the Rocas
Some time between 16.30 and 17.30 a few carts will ride through the city, covering the streets with green branches. They will be followed by all the Rocas in sucession, pulled by horses. It is an energetic, crazy ride that whizzes past like a train full of flowers. The Rocas will be filled with traditionally dressed Valencians playing folk music. Don't be late though - the whole thing takes no more than 10 minutes.

The final part of the route, right before the Archbizcopal Palace is a hill, where another Valencian Corpus fiesta tradition takes place. Only one horse is left at each of the Rocas and the locals make bets which horse will be the strongest to carry its load to the top. It's an energetic, sports-like atmosphere with plenty of cheering and passions. However, some people would prefer not to see it: they would consider it an act of cruelty to the horses. Those horses really do struggle.

At the top of the hill, all of the Rocas gather in front of the Palace. It is an incredible panorama on the background of stunning central Valencian architecture.

Length: 10 min
Fiesta of Corpus Christi in Valencia, Spain View Route
Fiesta of Corpus Christi in Valencia, Spain View Photos

Fiesta of Corpus Christi in Valencia, Spain
Length: 50 min
Fiesta of Corpus Christi in Valencia, Spain View Route
Fiesta of Corpus Christi in Valencia, Spain View Photos

Fiesta of Corpus Christi in Valencia, Spain

Sunday - 7pm - Official Procession

Most Valencian fiestas include an official procession, separate from dress-up carnivals and other events. The Corpus fiesta procession is probably the most spectacular of all (some of which, like that of San Vicente Ferrer, can be a total drag). You will see plenty of colours and just about every Biblical character, as well as armies of Old Testament priests and Roman soldiers. The procession also has its own squadron of impressive carts - usually depicting beasts - pushed by the participants.

The procession will be overlooked by the top brass of Valencian politics from the balcony on Plaza de la Reina, and concluded with all kinds of important local figures and a military band.

Casa de las Rocas

At other times of the year you can still see the Rocas in their own museum - Museo de Corpus.

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