Valencia Travel Guides

The calendar in Valencia boasts a number of colourful festivals. Many of these are religious in nature, with many observances honouring local saints and historic figures. Parades and fireworks displays are a common fixture of Valencia’s celebrations, and tourists are always welcomed to join in the revelry. Las Fallas festival in March is the region’s most well-known event, while the bizarre tomato-fight festival in Buñol is certainly the most unique.

January

Epiphany: this is the traditional day that the three magi are said to have presented the baby Jesus with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. In keeping with this tradition, traditional holiday gift giving (most of which is geared for children) takes place on January 6th.

Fiesta San Vicente: Valencia’s patron saint, San Vicente Martir is honoured on the 22nd of January. A sombre pontifical mass is held on the 21st, and on the following day there is a procession across town that retraces the final steps of this Christian martyr. An evening mass is held again at La Roqueta (the Cristo Rey Cathedral).

March

Las Fallas: Valencia’s most well-known celebration, Las Fallas (March 15-19) is a preamble to the spring season. The festivities begin with an invocation by the mayor, and then daily parades and rhythmic firework presentations are held several days in a row. Locals create more than 700 colourful paper mâché monuments which are erected around the city along with their ninots (life-sized figurines that sit at the base of each monument). La Créma is the climax of the Fallas Festivities and is held on the final day of celebration. At this time, all 700 monuments and ninots (save one) are burned and reduced to ashes in a high-energy ceremony that leaves everyone elated.

April

Semana Santa: Easter week is a solemn religious occasion in Valencia. The event is marked by numerous processions of floats that depict the Christ’s Passion and famous local saints. A silent processional is held on Thursday, and Jesus’ burial is contemplated on Friday. On Easter Sunday, spirits lift and families embark on picnics in the countryside. La mona de Pascua is a traditional Easter cake enjoyed on this occasion.Visit this website for photographs and further information about Semana Santa Festival Valencia

May

The Crosses of May: Valencia celebrates this occasion on May 3rd. Locals decorate the street with crosses that are made entirely of colourful flowers. It’s a beautiful occasion that proudly announces spring and the coming of summer.

Fiesta Virgin de los Desamparados: the Virgin of the Helpless is one of a pair of Valencia’s patron saints. The Virgin is honoured throughout the month of May, though her primary celebration is held on the second Sunday of the month. A concert on the previous evening marks the beginning of the festival; and after a special mass on Sunday, a statue of the Virgin is paraded from the Basilica to the Cathedral under a constant shower of flowers. Fireworks and further parading of the statue follow.

June

Fiesta San Juan: this celebration, with its root in ancient pagan culture, is observed across the country. It is held on June 23rd (summer solstice) and involves a great deal of raucous celebration. Bonfires are lit on the beach and celebrants eat, drink and dance well into the night.

July

July Fair: this festival capitalises on the warm summer nights of late July with plenty of beach parties and private celebrations around the city. Parades take the streets during the day, and flowers blanket the streets before the procession is finished. At night, rock and folk concerts (with previous performers like Bob Dylan and Ziggy Marley on Valencia’s resumé) are held, followed by fireworks displays. Ten days of bull fights are held in the main bullring.

August

La Tomatina: a truly unique occasion, la Tomatina is celebrated nearby in the town of Buñol on August’s final Wednesday. To start the occasion, a ham is tied to the top of a greased pole and everyone is invited to try and retrieve it. Afterward, what is billed as the world’s biggest food fight ensues as trucks unload more than 5,000 lbs of tomatoes on Buñol. A barrage of crushed tomatoes is unleashed and everyone gets extremely messy.

September

Valencia Film Festival: the film festival is held during the summer months from July through September. Original films are screened in the open-air Palau de la Musica gardens, part of the Turia riverbed park. Tickets are inexpensive, and the selection includes films in several different languages.

October

National Day: October 9th is both National Day and St Dionis Day. The latter is a patron saint of love, with a legacy similar to that of St Valentine. As a result, the 9th of October features a blend of patriotic rites (such as fireworks, flag-raising and historic re-enactments) alongside token acts of love and romance. Lovers exchange mocadorades (marzipan treats) and an evening dance is held at the Plaza de la Virgin.

November

Todos Los Santos: celebrated throughout the whole of Spain, All Saint’s Day is a time for families to visit cemeteries and remember their loved ones and ancestors. Families come together; candles are lit; and flowers are left at grave sites.

December

Navidad: Valencia embraces the Christmas season with full enthusiasm. Christmas lights are illuminated from the first day of December through the first week in January. Several local organisations including Valencia’s own circus and the City of Arts and Sciences hold special Christmastime events, and a seasonal lottery worth two million euros draws contestants from around the region. On Christmas Eve, everyone celebrates by eating turrón nougat, polvorones cakes and drinking Cava, the local sparkling wine.  After Mass on Christmas Day, locals get together in homes, restaurants and bars.

New Year’s Eve: live flamenco shows, traditional food and extravagant fireworks all announce the coming New Year. The official fireworks presentation is held at Plaza del Ayuntamiento, and as the clock strikes midnight, everyone eats a total of 12 grapes (one in synch with each toll of the clock). Spanish cava flows freely, and before retiring, everyone is traditionally expected to indulge in a chocolate y churros treat.