Yesterday was the “Diada de Valencia”, October 9, the “Day of Valencia” celebrated in all of the Comunitat Valenciana. There was a beautiful parade that crossed through a large part of the city. I wanted to share some of the images that I consider the highlights of the parade. By the by, the costumes were extraordinarily beautiful and the marching bands were superb. All in all it was a great show for the whole family. As far as I could see, everything was celebrated in peace and tranquility. There were a few protesters that tried to politicise the event but there was plenty of police afoot and the day ended in peace.
On the 9th of October, King James I liberated Valencia from the Moors. That is the reason why there is such Moorish influence in the parade. They have tried to symbolically include the different Moorish people that once populated Valencia and their Kingdoms. Balansyia, as the Muslims called Valencia, was lost to the Moors in 1238. The period of Muslim rule was from 711 to 1238.
The Moors were very tolerant to the locals. In Balansiya there was religious freedom for all, as well as hereditary privileges. These rights were not removed from the Christians of Valencia. Little by little, over the centuries, everyone dissolved into the Moorish population.
However, Balansiya prospered and blossomed. The Moors installed in Valencia very good irrigation systems and eventually turned the dry terrains of Spain into green lands and beautiful gardens. Actually, there is a neighbourhood in Valencia called Russafa (Ruzafa in Castilian) whose name means “garden” in Arabic. It was one of the areas that greatly benefited from the irrigation system which the Moors installed.
I mention this to clarify that although on the 9th of October the celebration is all about the re-conquest of Valencia, there is no animosity or ill will towards Muslims or Moors. The Comunitat Valenciana is proud of its heritage and recognises all aspects of her history and represents them in such spectacles as the parade on the Diada.
This is one of the many feast days and celebrations of Valencia that a visitor would greatly enjoy.
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