It’s Fiesta de San Vicente Ferrer in Valencia, Spain

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 SeΓ±oras ~

~ 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 asΒ 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. πŸ™‚

Fiesta Feliz, Valencia!

*****

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49 thoughts on “It’s Fiesta de San Vicente Ferrer in Valencia, Spain

    • The hairstyles actually reminded me of Princess Leia, hehe. Most, if not all, of the young women had such beautiful and elaborate hairstyling and costumes it was a wonder none of them seemed to have sacrificed sleep to put it all together. πŸ™‚

  1. Tita, you struck gold! What a wonderful coincidence. The photos are fantastic, and I love to hear about the traditional customs. When we were in Spain we happened upon a festival where people laid flowers on the resting place of a saint who had been helping feed her stingy husband’s peasants bread. (Off the top of my head I can’t remember the town or the saint’s name–would have to ask my husband) When her husband caught her with a full apron of bread to take her people, he insisted on her showing it to him, but it had been transformed into flowers. Once a year the flower shops do a great business, and even the pharmacies have images of the saint in their windows. But if there was a grand parade with traditional costumes, I missed it. Wonderful post!

    • Thanks!
      Having gone to Catholic elementary school I heard my share of such stories. Bread turning to flowers, an arrow that became a bird that flew away instead…
      But now my memory have them jumbled up, too, haha.
      It seems San Vicente is noted for his many miracles. There was a play about it that we caught but could not understand. πŸ™‚

    • Oh yes! We explored only the old part of Valencia but it is a charming place. And pedestrian-friendly. The old churches and buildings and squares are built close enough together and are only a short walk from the train station. πŸ™‚

  2. Ganda naman! Ang cute ng little girls. It really is a fiesta in its truest sense. The dresses are so festive and nothing short of grand. Lucky you for chancing upon this celebration andthank you for sharing the experience with us.

    • Ay, super kilig talaga ako when I realized that we had chanced upon the fiesta. The best thing was, mostly locals lang talaga an andun and they were very appreciative of the few tourists who were around. They gamely posed for pictures and chatted with us. πŸ™‚

  3. Awww.. I adore the costumes!! I would love to witness this festival someday! πŸ™‚ Mahilig pa naman ako sa costumes2! super love!!!

    Nice post Tita! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Riz! Lumuwa talaga mata ko when I saw the costumes, haha. I’ve seen some fiestas in costumes din but none showed such care for the hairstyle and headdresses as in here. Ganda talaga. πŸ™‚

  4. Gorgeous as always Tita, I am just itching to see Valencia, those costumes are exquisite. I love, love,love your photos. How long does it take to get from Madrid to Valencia? Didn’t know you could do a day trip… Ooooh!! Exciting πŸ™‚

    • You should go! πŸ™‚ There are now several cities where you can go on a daytrip from Madrid. We took the highspeed AVE train to Valencia for just more than an hour. The older Valencia area is only a short walk from the train station so you can start exploring the city right away.
      Oh, there’s a beach there, too, it’s the nearest one from Madrid. πŸ™‚

      • Sounds a lot like Florence Tita, you can visit all these gorgeous medieval cities in just an hour. I have to visit, Spain again. I am so in love with that country. I was watching ‘Under The Tuscan Sun’ today. It is now even more special as I see parts of Tuscany I recognize. I just want to keep traveling πŸ™‚

    • Thank you. We really lucked out that day.
      Those kids in the collage are adorable. The little girl in the middle photo on the left had a Mickey Mouse stuffed toy in hand, haha. She was so cute!

  5. The first photo really is beautiful. But I also love the one you said was your favourite, with the whole family. It makes me wonder how the seΓ±oras carted around all the little ones back in the day! I suppose a bit more wood and leather and a little less plastic. πŸ˜‰ How lucky you were to come across this!

    • That’s one of those things I liked about that photo — children in medieval attire on a modern stroller. I so wish I had a way to send a copy to that family. πŸ™‚

  6. Such lovely and interesting attires! And, yes, the kids are especially cute. What a pleasant surprise in what started out as a simple day trip. Lucky!

  7. That’s what I call good timing! πŸ™‚ I love all these traditional fiestas the Spanish have and I’d love to go there for an occasion like this but my own Spanish friends keep telling me that it’s too crowded, you can’t find a place to eat, park, etc. You could say that they’re just trying to keep me away, wouldn’t you πŸ™‚
    These costumes are amazing and beautiful – they must cost a bundle, too!

    • It was actually Dos de Mayo which is an important day in Madrid but since nothing was happening that morning, we decided to go on a daytrip. Lucky day.

      It wasn’t crowded at all for this fiesta that it felt like we were in a small town, specially since we kept to the older area. There were just a few of us tourists and even the dining places and plazas were serving mostly locals. I can imagine how the city must be packed, though, for Las Fallas or the Tomatino festival (which I would LOVE to take part in, heh).

  8. Hello! Just found your blog and bookmarked it – we’re headed to Spain this summer and so excited! Looking forward to reading more.

  9. Great post and pictures, Tita Buds! What a wonderful experience it must have been to be in the midst of a Spanish fiesta celebration. πŸ˜‰

  10. Pingback: A Street Altar in Valencia | tita buds' blog

  11. Hello. Its absolutely exciting to come across your pictures from Valencia. The picture of the man carrying an SVF banner especially caught my eye because I’ve been looking for a similar one, or closest to, to present as a gift to a town in the Philippines where my parents are from.
    Might you have a recommendation, or anyone of your fans, know where/how to obtain such a banner?
    Thanks very much for sharing your pictures.

    • Thanks, too, for reading. πŸ™‚
      There is a chain of shops in the Philippines called ‘St. Paul’s’ that sell religious items (Catholic), they might have what you’re looking for. They have branches in some of the bigger malls so they’re easy to find. I hope that helps.

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