Festivity of Corpus Christi Valencia
The origin of the Corpus Christi festivity, or Corpus Christi as it is known, dates back to 1263, although in the city of Valencia it was not until 1355 with Hugo de Fenollet that this procession was established and the festivity spread to other towns in the kingdom.
In its beginnings, the festivity was instituted by Pope Urban IV by means of the bull “Transiturus hoc mundo” which spread very quickly throughout Christendom and in 1311 and 1137 was ratified by Clement V and John XXII respectively.
Along with the Fallas, the Corpus Festivities are among the most important for the Valencian people. Since the end of the 14th century, the so-called late medieval period, when the procession, figures and dances were added to the procession, until the arrival of the Fallas, they have been considered the most eagerly awaited festivities in the calendar for years.
It should be noted that Corpus Christi is one of the celebrations that change its date the most within the liturgical calendar of the church. It takes place sixty days after Easter Sunday, which occurs on the Sunday following Pentecost, i.e. the Thursday following the Holy Trinity. In short, this year 2023 the celebration of Corpus Christi begins on Thursday, 8th of June and ends end on Sunday, 11th of June.
Citizen participation in the decoration of the streets through which the procession passes has always been fundamental, and according to the archives, the current route is very similar to the original one.
Among the most symbolic events are the “Cabalgata del convite” and the general procession. The “Cabalgata del convite” o “Cabalgata dels Cavallets” in Valencian, is an act in which characters such as the Cabezudos, Moma and Momos participate in the well-known “Danza de la Moma” (Dance of the Moma). This dance represents virtue dressed in white against the seven deadly sins dressed in red or black, symbolising hell.
This dance will take place on Sunday, 11th of June at 12pm, starting from the Plaza de Manises and continuing along Calle Caballeros and Plaza de la Virgen until reaching Calle Avellanas and Plaza de la Almoina. After the ringing of the bells at the end of the route, the fiesta continues. At 4:30 p.m. the rocas will pass from Caballeros Street and at 5:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. the carros of murta and the giants will set off respectively. At 7pm the Solemn Procession will start at the Apostles’ door of the Cathedral.
All these traditional acts, the main aspects of which are detailed below, take places thanks to the work of the association “Amics del Corpus de Valencia” which, in collaboration with public institutions, prepares throughout the year for the celebration of Corpus Christi. This colourful festival full of Catholic, festive and cultural customs deeply rooted in the Valencian people, such as the characteristic “shower of petals”, is accompanied by dolçainas and tabalets, the instruments of Valencian origin that are always present in all the festivities of the Valencian Community.
Some of the most typical and representative symbolic elements that will be seen during the Corpus 2023 procession will be:
- The Eagles: In three different sizes, they will be shown during the procession on Sunday together with the biblical characters referring to St. John the Evangelist. In the symbolic tradition of the church, the four gospels have been represented by tetramorphs. St. John, due to theological and abstract character of his gospel, has been associated with the eagle.
- The Tarasca: It is the symbol of Saint Martha. According to legend, she was able to appease the monster with holy water alone.
- The Dragon: As always, representing Saint George, who, according to some historians, is the origin of the legends of princesses and dragons, which are so widespread in the imaginary of fairy tales.
In addition to these symbolic characters, there are also 11 wooden structures in the shape of ships and countless mysteries and biblical characters. You can find more information in the links below.