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How Valencia celebrates Semana Santa

Semana Santa, which is translates to «Holy week» in English, is one of the most recognized religious festivities worldwide, and the best thing is that each country has its own way of celebrating. A vibrant and culturally rich observance, Semana Santa encompasses various fascinating traditions and customs. Some of these include elaborate processions, religious art and a lot of community spirit – the list goes on!


Being in Valencia during Semana Santa is a great experience as there’s always so much going on in the city and around it. This blog will tell you how you can really immerse yourself in Valencia’s culture and traditions during this Holy week and give you a list of all the ways you can celebrate.  As well as celebrations and processions, this blog will fill you in on the top culinary delights that Valencia offers during Semana Santa, as well as some cool and unique events you can go to.


A bit about Semana Santa

Semana Semana really starts on Palm Sunday and lasts until Easter Monday. It commemorates the final week of Jesus Christ’s life, including his entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, the crucifixion on Good Friday, and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.


Throughout Semana Santa, believers participate in various rituals, processions, and services to reflect on the events of Jesus’ Passion and to celebrate his victory over sin and death. The biggest displays are held on Maundy Thursday – Jueves Santo, Good Friday – Viernes Santo, and Easter Sunday – Domingo de Resurrección. 


This Catholic festivity aims to honor the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and it is a time of deep spiritual significance, marked by reflection, and joyous celebration. A great part about this week is that Semana Santa fosters a strong sense of community spirit, bringing people together to participate in shared rituals and religious observances. It truly is a time where neighborhoods, families, and friends come together to support each other and strengthen their bonds through collective worship and religion.



Semana Santa Marinera and why its different

As we said before, Valencia is unique in the way it celebrates this extraordinary festival and it has even created its own version of the celebration known as Semana Santa marinera. The neighborhoods of Cabanyal, Canyamelar, and Grau, also known as Els Poblats Marítims” all organize processions that feature ornate floats depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ, as well as statues of religious figures. These processions wind their way through the narrow streets of the Maritime District, often accompanied by traditional music, incense, and the participation of the local community.


One of the distinctive features of Semana Santa Marinera is the incorporation of maritime elements into the processions. Floats are adorned with symbols of the sea, and some processions include the blessing of the waters or ceremonies held along the waterfront. This particular event successfully showcases the cultural richness and diversity of Valencia, with participants wearing traditional costumes and locals coming together to celebrate their shared religious heritage.


Other main events

Palm Sunday

In Valencia, Palm study is typically marked by special Masses and religious processions in churches throughout the city. People often gather for Mass, where palm leaves or olive branches are blessed by the priest.

Some churches in Valencia may organize outdoor processions, especially in the historic city center or in neighborhoods with strong Catholic traditions. These processions often feature statues of Jesus on a donkey, accompanied by musicians, clergy, and parishioners carrying palms and singing hymns. Definitely keep an eye out for these processions as they are both easy on the eye and very informative.


Good Friday

Head straight down to the beach on the Friday to witness one of the most powerful memorial services. The first act starts at 8 am and is performed next to the shore on Playa de las Arenas, where homage is paid to the victims of the sea. At 6.30 pm the most important procession of Maritime Holy Week begins, that of the Holy Burial, which lasts for 5 hours and passes through all the streets of the coastal neighbourhoods (we are talking about Semana Santa Marinera here).


Resurrection Parade (Easter Sunday)

Definitely the most colorful and eye catching of all these events is the Easter Sunday parade, which takes place on the Sunday of Resurrections. This bright and bold procession moves under a constant shower of petals which are thrown down from the balconies of houses. Participants also carry images of Jesus and Mary as they sweep through Valencia’s sweets. Chairs and passages are available so if you arrive early enough you can sit and enjoy the procession and watch them all go past.


Don’t forget the tasty snacks!

Whilst all this is going on you will definitely build some sort of appetite, right? Well don’t worry because Valencia has its own traditional snacks that are brought out just for Easter and they won’t be hard to spot in any bakery or supermarket.


Mona de Pascua 

The Mona de Pascua is a sweet, yeasted cake that is often decorated elaborately with colored hard-boiled eggs (it sounds strange, we know). These eggs are dyed vibrant colors and arranged on top of the cake in various patterns, sometimes with additional decorations such as sprinkles or frosting. Possible flavors of this cake include orange blossom and lemon zest and fillings can even include cream, chocolate or candied fruits.


The Mona de Pascua is traditionally enjoyed as part of a festive Easter meal with family and friends and it is often served alongside other traditional Easter dishes and treats, such as roasted lamb, seafood, and sweets. Even so, no one would judge you if you decided to grab one to eat during all of the events going on in the city, so what are you waiting for?


Longaniza de Pascua

Another culinary delight enjoyed over the week of Semana Santa is the Longaniza de Pascua, a traditional sausage which is enjoyed during the Easter season. It is a type of Spanish sausage similar to chorizo but typically milder in flavor.


Longaniza de Pascua is often made with pork, seasoned with a blend of spices such as paprika, garlic, and salt. It may also include other flavorings such as cinnamon or fennel seeds, depending on regional variations and family recipes. In Valencia, Longaniza de Pascua is a popular delicacy that is enjoyed as part of the Easter festivities. It is often served sliced and accompanied by bread, cheese, and other traditional Easter foods during family gatherings and celebrations. Sounds yummy, right?


So there you have it! We have given you all the information you’ll need to enjoy this Holy Week to the ultimate max! Keep an eye out for all of these festivities and watch the city come to life but most importantly come together in fellowship and worship.


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