by Victor Sesma
Victor Sesma is an Alicantinian living in London. He is a Software Engineer who likes writing about the city he was born.
Your Guide to Alicante [By an Alicantinian]
Santa Faz Pilgrimage -or Romería de Santa Faz in Spanish- is a walk between Alicante’s Cathedral and Santa Faz’s Cathedral to visit a Christian relinquishment. Despite the religious origin, it is a festivity for all to enjoy.
The peregrination between Alicante’s Cathedral and Santa Faz Cathedral -7km or 4.3 mi- happens every year on the second Thursday of Easter after Holy Week, it will be the 11th of April in 2024 and it is a bank holiday in Alicante city. The vibe is festive and entire families and groups of friends share the walk.
The pilgrimage is well organised by Alicante’s city hall which gives each peregrine a bamboo stick with rosemary and closes the road to Santa Faz to the cars.
Each year after easter, thousands of Alicantinians walk from Alicante San Nicolas Concathidral to Santa Faz monastery.
The walk starts early in the morning with the political and Catholic authorities that stop at each of the Stations of the Cross set along the way. A float is also carried.
For most people, Santa Faz peregrination is just a tradition and not a religious expression, similar to what happens with easter.
At the start of San Nicolas Concathidral, the city hall awards the early birds with a bamboo stick with rosemary. The stick can be used as a walking stick that would make the way easier for the less fit people.
On the way, it is traditional to make a short stop and enjoy rosquillas (in Spanish), anis and mistela.
There is also music and little marking present that some companies will award with to the peregrines.
Upon arrival at Santa Faz monastery, there are traditional craft stalls where to buy food, crafts, different utensils and toys. For the bravest (or for children and teenagers) there is a funfair with different rides such as bumping cars and a Ferris wheel.
It is traditional for Alicantinians to have home-prepared lunch around the Santa Faz Monastery or go to San Juan Beach to enjoy the good weather in April.
For your come back to Alicante’s city centre, there are bus services for the peregrines from Santa Faz.
Traditional Santa Faz clothing for men and women is a black smock and a white and blue scarf, the colours of Alicante.
Santa Faz is always the second Thursday after Maundy Thursday in Easter.
|Year||Easter Thursday||Santa Faz Pilgrimage|
|2024||28th March||11th April|
|2025||17th April||1st May|
|2026||2nd April||16th April|
|2027||25th March||8th April|
|2028||13th April||27th April|
|2029||29th March||12th April|
|2030||18th April||2nd May|
The route usually follows these streets: Miguel Soler, San Nicolás, Calle Mayor, Santa Faz, Villavieja and Virgen del Socorro.
From Avenida de Denia it follows the route on the Alicante-Valencia N-332 to Santa Faz.
Normal traffic is restricted on the road so peregrines walk using the car roads.
The origin, story, legends and traditions of Santa Faz are fascinating. It is a festivity with more than 500 years of story and 250k people walking every year.
The Christian tradition says Alicante has one of the 3 Holy Visages -also called the Veil of Veronica– recognised by the Holy See.
The Holy Visage is a Christian relic consisting of a piece of cloth whit an image of the Holy Face of Jesus imprinted. It was taken by Saint Veronica during the Passion of Jesus -the events happening near his death-.
There are 3 copies and one of them ended up in Alicante in 1489 when the veil was given in Rome to a Spanish priest.