Today, April 16, the city of Valencia, Spain is celebrating the Feast Day of San Vicente Ferrer. The fiesta is much less known than the world-famous week-long Valencian festival known as Las Fallas, which is by all indications a huge, rowdy, fiery celebration (hence its popularity particularly with the college-age crowd).
The Fiesta de San Vicente Ferrer is more laid-back and the focus of the festivities is on the city’s patron saint, with such activities as the Offering of Flowers and the so-called Street Altars. It is a good time to visit Valencia, if one hopes to take part in some cultural traditions and see the locals (instead of hordes of fellow tourists) in a more relaxed but still festive atmosphere.
Last year, we had the privilege of observing the festivities. We actually lucked out because we only went to Valencia for a simple day trip from Madrid and had no idea that something as wonderful as this was going on. After walking a short distance from the train station to the center of the old part of Valencia, we were surprised to see people milling about in colorful traditional attire. They were preparing for a parade/procession to start. I had a great time chatting (or at least trying to chat) with the locals, greeting the participants and admiring their elaborate medieval costumes.
~ the above photo must be my favorite from the festivities ~
~ Is it my imagination or does the gentleman on the right look like a descendant of the saint? ~
~ bearing the heavy, wearing the metal ~
~ I wonder how many hours it took these girls to put their costumes on ~
~ beautiful Señoras ~
~ medieval text-ing ~
~ banda musica ~
Children and teens are an integral part of the fiesta, and only those 13 years old and below are allowed to act in the plays known as Street Altars. They are just the cutest in medieval costumes and my ovaries almost burst just looking at them, heh.
I’ll post a bit about the street altars later. They’re too precious not to be shared.
Fiesta Feliz, Valencia!