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Romerio Style Pilgrimage to the Monastery at Santa Faz, Alicante
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Romerio Style Pilgrimage to the Monastery at Santa Faz, Alicante
16th April
(Santa Faz means The Holy Face)
After Easter one of the most important Romerio type pilgrimages occurs in Alicante. A huge crowd, most of the local population follow the procession as it winds its way through the streets of Alicante to the monastery at Santa Faz.
To be part of it be outside Alicante Town Hall before 8am, on the Thursday following Semana Santa. Then be prepared for a long slow 8km walk, basically the crowd eventually fills the entire distance.
The only food on the pilgrimage is a snack, distributed by the local council (paraeta) of traditional anise rolls and fondellon( a traditional regional wine).
So what is it all about
The monastery at Santa Faz, Alicante contains, in a safe that is locked by four keys,  part of a veil ( not all of it) which belonged to a lady called Veronica who lived in the time of Jesus.
It is claimed that Veronica used this veil to wipe the blood from the face of Jesus as he carried the cross through the streets of Jerusalem. This very piece of cloth somehow ended up in a monastery in Alicante. This veil bears the outline of the face of Jesus.
That's not all, in 1489 there was a drought in the Alicante area and a romerio style pilgrimage was made to the monastery to pray. As the people prayed a tear appeared on the image of Jesus, obviously a sign that he was listening. Just a few days later rain began to fall. Clearly their prayers were answered.
Since then this pilgrimage has taken place to thank Jesus. The pilgrims wear traditional peasant clothes of black, and blue and white trims ( the city colours). and carry canes.
After the pilgrimage the monastery is filled with prayers and murmurs and candles are lit.
In the evening local people have feats and parties and their is a traditional craft market.