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Virgen de los Desamparados - Fiesta in Valencia
[Second Sunday of May: 16th May in 2007]

What it is about

Fiesta of the Virgin in Valencia, SpainOur Lady of the Forsaken is the patron Virgin of Valencia. She is perhaps the most revered saint of the city, and many Valencians feel very strongly abot her. It is an important saint fiesta for Valencia and you can see much traditional culture. Lots of colours, flower petals, traditional music, costumes and dance.

To see:

- a concert, fireworks and folk dancing on Sat

- two flowery processions and a craft market on Sun

- more music on Mon

See our photos

What happens

All of the action will take place in Plaza de la Virgen (Paginas ) in the centre - this square hosts the Basilca de los Desamparados dedicated to the Virgin. The building, which is beautiful any day, will be specifically decorated for the occasion.

Saturday - 8pm-1pm - music, fireworks, dance
The movement on Plaza de la Virgin will begin just before 8pm. It's nice to mingle in the crowds but not much will be happening. Later, at 11pm, there will be a concert by the Municipal Orchestra on the Plaza. This is your chance to experience traditional Spanish music from the city they call the Vienna of Spain. At midnight there will be visual fireworks in the Turia river bed, near Torres de Serranos (Multimap Map). Then, back at the Plaza, traditional singing and dancing in spectacular costumes.

Fiesta of the Virgin in Valencia, Spain
Length: 1 hour
View Route

Fiesta of the Virgin in Valencia, Spain

Sunday - 10.30am - the Move of the Virgin

Today, many buildings will be decorated in the name of the Virgin and people will get ready to throw rose petals from balconies on whatever is happening below.

Early morning will see two church services, but you might want to skip that - they are at 5am and 8am.

At 10.30am one of the most dramatic events will take place - the statue of the Virgin (a relic of extreme importance for the Valencians) will be transferred from the Basilica into the Cathedral nearby. This is called Traslado.There will be huge crowds of believers, trying to touch the Virgin - many believe in the supernatural powers of the statue. Don't miss it - it is a very short walk.

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Sunday - 18.30pm - the Official Procession
In the evening, Valencia will have the official procession. It is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the traditional fiesta costumes of Valencia. Even in the fiesta of Las Fallas you won't see such a spectacle. The first hour of the procession is an amazing fashion show of Valencian dress, concluded with the Fallera Mayor and Fallera Mayor Infantil, and their Court of Honour. Everyone will carry ceremonial candles decorated with flowers.

The second hour, however, is a total drag... Two kilometres of various religious associations of Valencia solemnly parading in black suits and smart wear while you are dying of claustrophobia in the crowd. It is the most boring thing in the world. In the end you can see the Virgin showered by flower petals, but if you had seen her in the morning, just leave.

Length: 2 hours
View Route

Fiesta of the Virgin in Valencia, Spain
Fiesta of the Virgin in Valencia, Spain

Sunday - all day - Market
Plaza de la Reina (Multimap Map) will host a traditional craft market where you can buy many hand-made souvenirs from Valencian artesans.

Monday - 20.30-10.30 - Music
As an after-event, the Monday evening will be once again full of traditional Valencian music, costumes and dance for the enjoyment of the culturally minded traveller. Plaza de la Virgen, as usual.

Fiesta of the Virgin in Valencia, Spain

See our photos of the Fiesta Virgin de los Desamparados

The Legend

Fiesta of the Virgin in Valencia, SpainThe Legend goes that in 15th century 3 young men dressed as pilgrims arrived to a Valencian hospital. The hospital looked after the mentally ill (hence "the forsaken"). A friar who greeted the pilgrims had a blind wife. The men offered to build an image of the Virgin in exchange for food and shelter and stayed in a room for four days. Not hearing a sound, the friars broke the door in and saw that the image of the Virgin had been constructed and the men vanished. At the same moment the woman's blindness was cured. Since then it is believed that the three men were angels, and various Spanish artists who were inspired by the image commented on the supernatural element in the statue.

Information source: Valencia Tourist Bureau

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