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Valencian pride: the Day of the Valencian Community

Events and Entertainment, History and Culture Comments Off

October 9th will mark the Day of the Valencian Community – an annual festival of immense regional pride…

MQ9K1121aThis was the day in 1238 when the Valencian community as we know it was established and history was made that shaped the city as it stands today. This was the day that King James I of Aragon and his Christian armies entered and reconquered the city, after the surrender of the Moorish forces and five long centuries of Islamic rule. Valencia was established as an independent, autonomous kingdom with its own courts and ruling system and a thriving centre. It was not until 1707 that the region officially became part of the Kingdom of Spain.

On such a momentous and significant occasion, everyone in the community comes out to play and the majority of local businesses and shops will be closed. Local transport operates on a reduced service to make way for the parades and pride beats through the streets in time to the traditional music and dance of the processions that start in the morning and last into the night.

Get the party started 

In true Spanish style, the festivities begin the night before on October 8. This night also marks the finale of the annual International Festival of Pyrotechnics, which promises to go out with a bang – in the form of a dazzling and colourful fireworks display. On the day itself, the autonomous community of Valencia’s flag (the Senyera) plays an important role in the expression of regional pride. The flag will be on show in prominent locations across town and is the main player in a huge procession that starts and ends at Valencia Town Hall. The parade will travel through the streets of the city up to the Metropolitan Church Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria, with a stop at the statue of King James I to make a floral offering, before returning to the ayuntamiento.

Festivities will take place across the region on this day but the main party is on the streets of Valencia city, where colourful and noisy community parades will feature local people dressed in medieval costume.  The finale will showcase a re-enactment of ancient scenes between the Moors and Christians in an authentic and entertaining display to entertain all ages. When evening comes around, festivalgoers gather for communal meals with delicious local specialties in abundance. Afterwards, there is plenty more opportunity for partying should you so wish…

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October 9 also marks the Day of Saint Dionysius, the patron saint of lovers, so there are even more reasons to be happy on this day. It is customary for men to give their loved one a gift of Mocaorà – a silk scarf with marzipan sweets handcrafted by local confectioners.

So make sure you head down to Valencia next week to eat, drink, be merry, feel the love and celebrate the heritage of a very special nation…

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On October 8, 2014
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