Popular Festivals

The Holy Week in Valencia is so unique that events unfold over fifteen days, offering numerous peculiarities. Images in houses; Christs carried by their faithful, pressed against their chests; the Dolorosas guarded by grenadier soldiers; the colourful attire; the music, sometimes sad, other times cheerful; the pyrotechnics that proclaim the Resurrection or the typical gastronomy of these days, confirm the strength of tradition, the commitment to the legacy of the elders, and the religious sentiment of the penitents. A schedule of events that begins with the “retreta” organized by groups belonging to the parish of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, which parade through the streets announcing the start of the processions.

The rest of the days feature the departures of the various brotherhoods, offering moments of great emotion and splendid visual beauty, such as the meeting of the Dolorosa Coronada and Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno in the unparalleled setting of the Royal Shipyards on the night of Holy Tuesday. Until the evening of Holy Thursday, the ‘Visit to the Monuments’ gathers all the groups in a deafening procession that visits all the parishes. The custom of visiting the houses that host the images has contributed to that night being known as the Night of the Chapels.

The following morning, Good Friday, the sea regains all its prominence when the Christs are carried to the beach, where a prayer will be raised in memory of the deceased sailors. Meanwhile, on the shore, the biblical character representing the Sorrowful Mother will lay flowers upon the waves. It’s the prelude to a day filled with emotions that will begin with the Stations of the Cross and end with the procession of the Holy Burial, in which all the groups participate with their beautifully adorned thrones.

On Saturday, there are no processions. It’s a time for calm and rest, waiting for midnight when the Resurrection resonates throughout the Maritime area. Then, it’s advisable to stay under cover because, alongside the fireworks that illuminate the night, crockery and water are thrown from the balconies onto the street in a ritual that represents the replacement of the old with the new, darkness with light, and evil with good.

In the houses where the images remain, the dark decor will be replaced by the brightness of white. Everything proclaims joy for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which will be represented early in the morning on Sunday when the Mother meets her already Resurrected Son, a moment that is underscored by music, firecrackers, and flower petals.

The Mediterranean in its purest form will burst with joy, music, and color at noon, with the Resurrection Parade, in which the audience, who until then had remained in respectful silence watching the slow progress of the processions, greets, this time with applause and compliments, the swift passage of the brotherhoods and biblical characters, who thank with flowers the expressions of sympathy.

Although this parade marks the public culmination of the celebrations, visitors can still head to the Plaza de la Cruz, where the brethren of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre coil around their standard, only to then uncoil. With this act, they aim to symbolize that at that very moment the festival has ended, and, once again, the preparations for next year’s celebration begin.

These are some of the many events that make up the program of the Holy Week in Valencia, where solemnity blends with simplicity, religious feeling with the exuberance of Mediterranean traditions. Year after year, these events take place in the maritime districts of the city, as spring begins to show.


Holy Tuesday


  • Night of Holy Tuesday at the Royal Shipyards: A visually stunning event where the Dolorosa Coronada and Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno meet, marking a moment of great emotion and beauty.


Holy Thursday


  • Visit to the Monuments: All groups gather for a loud procession visiting all parishes, known as the Night of the Chapels due to the tradition of visiting houses hosting sacred images.


Good Friday


  • Morning: The sea takes centre stage as Christs are carried to the beach for a prayer in memory of deceased sailors, followed by the Sorrowful Mother laying flowers upon the waves.
  • Via Crucis and Santo Entierro Procession: The day continues with Stations of the Cross and concludes with the Holy Burial procession, featuring beautifully decorated thrones.


Holy Saturday


  • A Day of Rest and Anticipation: No processions. The community waits for midnight, when the Resurrection echoes throughout the Maritime area. A spectacular display of fireworks alongside a unique ritual of throwing crockery and water from balconies marks the transition from old to new.


Easter Sunday


  • Morning of Resurrection: Homes replace dark decor with white, symbolizing joy for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Mother meets her Resurrected Son in a scene celebrated with music, firecrackers, and flower petals.
  • Noon Resurrection Parade: A vibrant event filled with music and color, where the public applauds the swift passage of brotherhoods and biblical characters.




  • Plaza de la Cruz: The Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre performs a symbolic act around their standard, representing the end of the festival and the beginning of preparations for the next year.



Report by Carlos Catalán Ruz

Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’

Photo copyright ’24/7 Valencia’

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