Popular Festivals

From the 10th to the 12th of May, Valencia will celebrate the city’s patron saint in The Festival of the Virgen de los Desamparados. The figure of the Virgen is held in the Basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados, or can be seen being paraded through the streets this weekend during the festival. Aside from the main procession held on Sunday, which dates back to the 15th century, there will be pyrotechnics, music and traditional dance.

On Friday the 10th of May, the festival begins in the evening at the Plaza del Virgen. At 6:30pm, mass will be held in the Basilica with the religious cooperators of Betania. After an intermission of the children’s dance in the square at 8pm, mass will continue at 8:30pm. At 11pm, the Gran Dansà will take place.

On Saturday the 11th May, a 10:30am sung mass will take place in the Basilica. The festival this year is particularly significant, as it is the centenary of the crowning of the Virgen de los Desamparados, and at 1:00pm there will be a commemorative mass specifically for the centenary.  At 10pm, a concert will be held in the Plaza del Virgen by the Municipal Symphonic Band. The main pyrotechnic event will be held afterward at 11:30pm in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, carried out by the Zarzoso Pyrotechnics.

The most significant day of the festival is Sunday, as this is when the procession of the Virgen de los Desamparados takes place. The day begins with mass: a 5am open air mass, a 6am mass for pilgrims from Paterna and Sueca and an 8am children’s mass. Then at 10:30am, the transfer of the image of the Virgen will take place, a procession from the Basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados to the Cathedral. The route is only 200 metres, and is typically crowded with Valencians brimming with devotion to the patroness, and an eagerness to touch the image. At midday, a Pontifical mass will be held at the Cathedral, followed by a 2pm pyrotechnic display by The Aitana Company. On Sunday evening, the final procession will take place and will leave from the Cathedral.

A traditional Ronda a la Mare de Déu concert will be held on Monday  13th May at 8:30pm, offered by the Bancaja Foundation. The concert, directed by the conductor of the Municipal Symphonic Band of Valencia Cristóbal Soler, will close off the festive events. The concert is free, and  will include the participation of the Municipal Symphonic Band of Valencia, the Orfeó Valencià, the soloists Vicente Ombuena (tenor), Eduardo Sandoval (tenor), Carmen Avivar (soprano) and Manuel Mas (baritone) and the pianist José Ramón Martín.


Report By Polly Watton

Article copyright ’24/7 Valencia’

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