After the Twelfth Night processions and Carnival parades, Toledo's main festival is Easter, when the city streets are charged with fervour and provide the perfect setting for the celebrations. The processions of the statues of Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), Cristo de la Expiracion (the Dying Christ) and the legendary Cristo de la Vega, (Christ of the Plain) are some of the most popular of the week. The busiest days of Holy Week are Thursday and Friday, with the afternoon of Maundy Thursday traditionally being an open day for the churches, convents and monasteries, which offers a unique opportunity to see jewels that are not usually on display to the public.
In late April, a traditional pilgrimage and festival is held at the shrine of the Virgen de la Cabeza, and in May another at the shrine of Our Lady of the Valley, including a visit to the legendary piedra del Rey Moro, the rock of the Moorish King.
The festival of Corpus Christi is classified as of international tourist interest; the date changes depending on the religious calendar, so the holiday may fall either in May or June. The celebratory processions in Toledo are essentially baroque in style, although there are references dating back as far as 1280. The Corpus parade winds through streets decorated with awnings, beautiful sixteenth and seventeenth century tapestries and embroidered hangings depicting shields, coats of arms and liturgical motifs. The ground is covered with damp sand and sprigs of rosemary and thyme, imbuing the procession with its own particular scent and atmosphere. The giants and the dragon-like tarasca ridden by the figure of Ann Boleyn are part of parade that is carefully choreographed and organised according to tradition. The wonderful gold-plated sixteenth century monstrance is the centre of the parade, accompanied by the political and ecclesiastical authorities, the guilds, the lay brotherhoods, children taking their first communion, and the archbishop. The Guardia Civil are there on horseback, and the mounted drummers of the City guard. The cathedral verger has the job of making sure the route is suitable for the monstrance to pass unhindered and the Infantry Academy provides a guard of honour. The balconies and windows overlooking the parade are in great demand for the two days of the celebrations. There area also a great number of other cultural activities associated with the festivities.
Throughout the summer, concentrated around August 15th, the feast of the Virgen del Sagrario, the patron saint of the city, Toledo holds its summer festival which includes a programme of shows and cultural events. The first weekend in September is reserved for the Conference on Jewish Culture, an event that has been gaining interest and popularity in recent years.
The main attractions of Toledo's Autumn cultural programme include theatre, classical music, jazz and literary activities.
© 2000-2008, HOLA S.A., Madrid – Miguel Ángel, 1 – 28010 – Madrid (España)