There is an annual appointment that people from Alicante do not want to miss. A day marked in red on the calendar and to which we all look forward with excitement. We are talking about the Pilgrimage of the Holy Face (Santa Faz), which is celebrated every year on the second Thursday of Easter. More than 300,000 people from all parts of the province participate in this tradition, whose origins come from five centuries ago. If you are in town these days, you can not miss it! And if you want to participate in the pilgrimage, this is all you have to know.
Date and program of Santa Faz 2018
This year, the Santa Faz Pilgrimage will take place on Thursday, April 12. The delegation departs at 7:00 a.m. from the Cathedral of San Nicolás and Plaza del Ayuntamiento, just a few minutes walking from your accommodation in Be Alicante. We recommend that you get up early to catch one of the rosemary canes that are distributed free of charge. The pilgrims dress in their traditional black blouses and a scarf around their necks with the colors of the city: white and sky blue.
At 8:00 the pilgrimage will go on its way to the Monastery of Santa Faz, which is located in the limits of the municipality of San Juan. The itinerary goes by: San Nicolás Cathedral (Black Door), Miguel Soler Street, San Nicolás Street, Calle Mayor, Plaza Santa Faz, Villavieja Street, Virgen del Socorro Street, Denia Avenue, Ctra. Alicante-Valencia- Caserío Santa Faz.
During the whole journey, the Santa Faz pilgrimage will be animated by the Colla (traditional music band) de Nanos i Gegans (Nicolauet and Remediens), and by the classical “paraetas” (a stop on the road where many stands offer the pilgrims food and drinks) where we recommend you to enjoy a roll of anise with a good glass of sweet wine, called “mistela”. These are two ingredients every pilgrim must taste to recharge energy for the rest of the road.
The journey from the Cathedral of San Nicolás to the Monastery lasts about two hours. It is foreseen that the relic and the pilgrimage will arrive at 10:00 a.m. at their destination. It will be when the Tabernacle opens and Holy Mass is celebrated. Afterwards, the relic will be returned to its sacred place, until next year.
The tradition is to spend the day in the surroundings of the monastery, eat with family and friends and shop around the craft stalls that are located there all the weekend. We recommend you to buy a souvenir of the Santa Faz, there is not a gift more traditional from Alicante than this one!
History of the Santa Faz Pilgrimage
As we have already explained, the pilgrimage is a tradition from Alicante that is almost 500 years old. The origin dates back to the 15th century, when the then priest of San Juan, Mosén Pedro Mena, received in Rome a venerated canvas of the face of Christ from Jesusalem, as a gift. This religious relic is a piece of cloth used by Veronica to wipe the face of Jesus as he carried his cross, according to the catholic history.
The first documented pilgrimage was celebrated on Friday, March 17, 1489. Alicante suffered a terrible drought, and thousands of citizens went out in pilgrimage with the relic to ask for water and prosperity for the crops. The documented stories of that day tell that the religious P. Villafranca, who transported the canvas during the journey, was paralyzed at a moment of the pilgrimage, feeling like a great weight prevented him from walking. Those who accompanied him said they saw a tear coming out of the right eye of the Holy Face. It rained in Alicante, and since then, the tradition is been kept alive.
The events of the pilgrimage reached the ears of the King and spread throughout Spain. A year later, the first monastery was built, Pope Innocent VIII granted indulgences and Fernando II of Aragon granted the title of City to Alicante. In 1496, King Ferdinand the Catholic, approved the confraternity of St. Veronica, and in 1525, Pope Clement VII approved the Office and Mass of the Holy Face, and gave validity to the miracles that had taken place.
From Be Alicante we invite you to live with all the people from Alicante the Santa Faz ilgrimage 2018. Book your room in our Bed & Breaksfast La Milagrosa or in one of our apartments, located a few minutes from the Cathedral of San Nicolás, from where the pilgrimage every year.