Corpus Christi in Spain: streets decorated with beautiful flower carpets

by Lorraine Williamson
Corpus Christi

MADRID – Once a year, streets in numerous villages and towns are covered with tens of thousands of flowers. Residents arrange the leaves in the most beautiful patterns, flower pots on facades look brighter than usual and there are processions with flower floats. 

The celebration is based on the lunar calendar and takes place 60 days after Easter Sunday. That is, on the Thursday of the second week after Pentecost. In some countries, such as Spain, the celebration was moved to Sunday to better suit the work calendar. That is the day when the streets are covered with the most beautiful patterns made of flowers. 

Procession 

Corpus Christi celebrations usually include a procession in which the consecrated host is displayed in a monstrance, a piece of gold, or some other precious metal. This procession runs through the streets of the city past the impressive floral compositions in the form of a carpet made by the residents themselves. 

Why is it celebrated? 

Corpus Christi is a feast celebrated by the Catholic Church whose origins date back to the year 1208. Then the religious Juliana de Cornillon proposed to celebrate a feast in honour of the Body and Blood of Christ. Corpus Christi attempts to glorify the sacrament of the Eucharist, the meaning of which is “thanksgiving.” In the year 1264, Pope Urban IV instituted this festival with the bull Transiturus Corpus Christi. 

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Where in Spain is it a public holiday? 

In Spain, it is the only official party in Castilla-La Mancha. All provinces in this region – Toledo, Guadalajara, Cuenca, Albacete and Ciudad Real – have designated this day as a public holiday. In addition, it is also a local holiday in Seville and Granada. In the case of the city of Granada, the celebration of Corpus Christi coincides with the feria. 

The most spectacular flower carpets in Spain 

In Spain, three Corpus Christi celebrations have been awarded the title of International Tourist Interest: that of the city of Toledo and the cities of Béjar (Salamanca) and Puenteareas (Pontevedra). 

At the national level, the celebrations stand out in La Puebla del Río (Seville), Zahara de la Sierra (Cádiz), Villa de Mazo (La Palma), Sitges (Barcelona province), the Octavas del Corpus de La Orotava (Tenerife), Peñalsordo (Badajoz), the dances of the Octave of the Corpus of Valverde de los Arroyos (Guadalajara), the Sins and Dancers of Camuñas (Toledo) and the Sawdust Carpets of Elche de la Sierra (Albacete). 

Also read: Fiestas, Ferias and Celebrations in Spain during 2023 

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