Virgen de los Desamparados - Fiesta in Valencia
[Second Sunday of May: 16th May in 2007]
What it is about
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.
- a concert, fireworks and folk dancing on Sat
- two flowery processions and a craft market on Sun
- more music on Mon
See our photos
All of the action will take place in Plaza
de la Virgen (Paginas
Amarillas.es ) 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,
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.
Sunday - 10.30am - the Move of the
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.
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.
See our photos of the Fiesta Virgin de los Desamparados
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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© ValenciaValencia.com 2006