Holy Week celebrations begin in Elche on Palm Sunday, which was declared a Fiesta of International Tourist Interest in 1997.
The day’s main act is the Palm Procession which in Elche is of especial significance due to the large number of blanched palm leaves produced in the city’s palm groves and borne through the streets by the faithful.
The procession, commemorating Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, has always had a large following and has become one of the most characteristic and popular expressions of Elx’s cultural identity.
The first documented evidence concerning Diumenge de Rams, Palm Sunday, dates from 1371, when the Consell de la Vila, or Town Council, took part in the celebrations, distributing alms.
Trade in blanched palm leaves was documented in an entry in the Town Hall records from 1492 and it has continued to the present day. For centuries blanched palm leaves from Elche have been exported to the entire Catholic world.
Special mention must be made of the woven palm leaves that are entered in the competition organised by the Council of Holy Week Guilds and Brotherhoods. These leaves depict complex figures related to the events of Holy Week or Elche’s monuments and traditions.
In the Palm Groove Museum, Elche Town Hall has instituted a Blanched Palm Leaf Craft Workshop. The objective of the initiative is to ensure the survival of traditions and crafts related to Elche’s palm grove.
Elche’s Palm Sunday was declared a Fiesta of National Tourist Interest on July 14th 1988 and a Fiesta of International Tourist Interest on July 22nd 1997.
Information compiled by:
TOURIST INFO ELX
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