Toledo ’s streets are clothed in finery to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi: a solemn procession which takes place in an atmosphere of singing, the aroma of herbs, and spiritual fervour.
Corpus Christi is Toledo’s most important festival and one of its oldest. Although its exact date of origin is unknown, it is recorded as having been celebrated in the 15th century. This solemn religious procession is celebrated on the day of the Corpus Christi and presided by the Archbishop of Toledo, cardinal primate of Spain. The city’s historic streets, especially decorated for the occasion, provide the backdrop for this striking procession. The highlights are the Monstrance, a priceless work of craftsmanship in gold and silver dating from 1515 and weighing about 160 kilos; and the distinctive and traditional retinue of followers made up of the different religious fraternities and guilds.
Five weeks before the religious procession, the route is decorated with awnings, wreaths and lanterns. The day before the feast of Corpus Christi, walls, windows and balconies are adorned with antique pennants and tapestries from the 16th and 17th century, and the ground is strewn with aromatic herbs whose scent pervades the festive atmosphere of the following days. The procession begins at midday: the bells of Toledo begin to peal, and the first to appear is a group of giants representing the different continents. Then the procession itself leaves the cathedral, bearing the Monstrance and accompanied by the religious guilds in order of antiquity.
If you wish you can watch the proceedings from the seats arranged along the streets by paying in advance at the booth installed in the Zocodover square. You will also have the chance to see the beautiful interior courtyards inside the city’s mansions and stately homes, as these buildings open their doors to the public on the day of the Corpus. There is also a programme of events lasting a week which includes concerts, shows and sports competitions.
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