Best time to go to Valencia

Semana Santa Marinera & Easter 2020

Valencia's close relationship with the sea has contributed to the unique celebration of the Holy Week

Semana Santa Marinera & Easter in Valencia 2020 - Best Time
Photo by

Rafa Esteve

The city of Valencia celebrates Semana Santa mainly in its maritime neighbourhood of El Cabanyal, under the protection of the sea. In its structure, the celebration is largely similar to other Christian places—three major festive days are Palm Sunday with Blessing of the Palms, Good Friday with the Holy Burial Procession, and Easter Sunday with the Ride of Resurrection. However, it's not the same as elsewhere—the Holy Week in Valencia is celebrated by people who have always made a living from fishing, and have great respect to the sea. That's why it's called Semana Santa Marinera.

The roots of the current celebration go back to the 15th century. Over 30 brotherhoods, fraternities, and different associations take part in the religious ceremonies that commonly parade religious statues through the streets, while people dressed-up as biblical characters and lots of believers are following. Naturally, one of the highlights of the maritime festivities is the Early Morning Beach Procession held on Good Friday to commemorate those who died in the sea.

Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) takes place later that day. Holy Burial Procession is held at nightfall. This is the major highlight of the week. Before 1930 it was organized by each parish individually, but since then it has been held jointly.

Easter Sunday traditionally celebrates the Meeting of Risen Christ and his Mother—sorrowful at the beginning, these parades culminate with much joy, doves, and flower petals being released into the air. On Easter Day and also on Easter Monday families gather at the old riverbed for Easter treats which typically include sweet Easter cake (mona de Pascua) with boiled eggs.