In case you didn’t know, next Monday 29th April, Valencians will celebrate the local holiday known as “San Vicente Ferrer”. They don’t have a fixed date for celebrating it, because every year it takes place on the second Monday of Easter. In fact, next year it’s going to be celebrated on April 20th
Despite it being an annual festival, many Valencians don’t know much about the history or origin of this celebration, and even about the events taking place in the city! So, if you ask someone and they don’t know, don’t fret. We’re going to explain it right her.
Why is this day celebrated in Valencia?
Well, “San Vicente Ferrer” was a philosopher and a Dominican preacher, who was also known as “Sant Vicent el del ditet” because it’s said that he used to make miracles using his index finger! He is now the patron saint of Valencia and so a holiday is taken in remembrance of him.
He was born on January 22nd, 1350 in Valencia and dedicated his life to travelling on his donkey all over Spain and other European cities, spreading his thoughts on religion and ‘miraculous acts’ everywhere he went. On 1410 he founded the first registered orphanage in the World right here in Valencia, before he died in Britanny in 1419.
San Vicente Ferrer – 2019
This year is the 6th centenary anniversary of his death, and so, to commemorate it Valencia is hosting many acts and events. From April 5th until April 30th, many religious ceremonies such as masses and parades are being celebrated across the city, mostly during the weekends, in memorial of “San Vicente Ferrer”.
During the celebrations, the groups who organize the events act out various short plays. These dramas represent parts of San Vicente’s life, and are part of a contest, whereby the winner will be announced on Friday 26th.
At different points of the city, 12 alters are assembled with images and figures of the Saint, which are known as “Pujà del Sant”, (in English “To lift the Saint up”), taking place on Sunday 28th. People can visit these alters until Monday 29th or Tuesday 30th in some cases, when the festivity ends with the “Baixà del Sant”, (“Taking the Saint down”).
These few days of celebrations coincide with those of Holy Week, so sometimes it can be easy to mix then up.
Perhaps this celebration is not as well-known as others, but the fact that it is in honor of the patron saint of the city makes it a special celebration for Valencians!