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18·SEP·2012

The Day of the Valencian Community

On the 9th October each year the residents of the Valencian Community on the eastern coast of Spain celebrate their proud heritage.

The Day of the Valencian Community (Día de la Comunidad Valenciana), also known as the Region of Valencia Day, is a local public holiday marking the anniversary of King James I of Aragon´s capture of the city of Valencia from Moorish forces in 1238. After more than 5 centuries of Islamic rule, James I of Aragon created the Kingdom of Valencia, an independent country under his control which became part of the Kingdom of Spain in 1707. Today the Valencian Community is an autonomous community divided into three provinces: Alicante, Castellón and Valencia. [caption id="attachment_210" align="alignright" width="230"]Region of Valencia Day Region of Valencia Day Procession[/caption] There are festivities in many towns and cities throughout the region including parades with people dressed in medieval costumes. These parades often end with a communal meal or party. But of course the place to celebrate the Region of Valencia Day is in the city of Valencia itself. If you are driving from Alicante Airport it will usually take you around 2 hours to reach the city but you should allow extra time during this Public Holiday. The programme for the fiesta actually starts on the eve of 8th October with the finale of the annual International Festival of Pyrotechnics. Yes, more fireworks! On October 9 the Valencian flag, the Real Senyera, is taken in a procession from the main balcony of the Valencia City Hall, through the streets of the city, to the Metropolitan Church Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria. The procession then stops to make a floral offering at the statue of the Rey Jaume I (King James I) before returning to the Town Hall. The finale for the day is the parade of “Moors and Christians” which fills the city with colour. Incidentally, for the romantics, it is worth knowing that October 9 is also the Day of Saint Dionysius (Sant Dionís), the patron saint of lovers. On this day it is customary to give a Mocaorà, a silken scarf containing marzipan pastries handcrafted by Valencia’s confectioners, to your loved one. Just saying.
Since the Day of the Valencian Community is a public holiday in Valencia, most businesses and other organizations are closed. Many shops are also closed although some bakers and food stores might be open. Naturally, parades and other public events may cause some local disruption to traffic, especially in the centers of towns and villages. If you plan being in the Valencia Community for October 9 2012 and would like to hire a car you can reserve online now with Drivalia. Image credit: http://en.comunitatvalenciana.com