The Iconic Palm Sunday Procession in Elche

The procession of Palms /

As Easter approaches, one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the province of Alicante is the Procession of the Palms in the historic city of Elche.

This centuries-old tradition, steeped in religious significance, has earned international recognition as a Festival of International Tourist Interest.

palms /

History behind the tradition

At the heart of the Palm Sunday procession lies a profound symbol: the reenactment of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Elche’s rendition of this ancient ritual is truly distinctive, owing to its steadfast preservation of the traditional art of weaving the iconic white palm fronds. Sourced from the lush groves of the Palmeral de Elche, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, these meticulously crafted palms are renowned for their exquisite beauty and symbolic significance. Each year, artisans produce approximately 500,000 palms of varying sizes, with a portion remaining in the city as cherished mementos, while the majority are exported to destinations worldwide, adorning the homes of dignitaries and devout followers alike.

The procession, which traces its origins back to the 14th century, commences promptly at 11:00 a.m. on Palm Sunday, setting off from the picturesque Paseo de la Estación. Drawing crowds of over 10,000 visitors annually, the event captivates spectators with its vibrant display of faith and tradition. Local residents, adorned in their finest attire, proudly carry their palms, symbolising their reverence for the sacred occasion. Notably, the procession also showcases the winning entries from the Palm Contest organised by the Junta de Cofradías de Elche, adding an element of competition and artistry to the proceedings.

Events during the festivity

In anticipation of the procession, the Mercado de la Palma Blanca (White Palm Market) springs to life across various locations in the city, including the Town Hall, Plaza de Barcelona, Plaza de Madrid, and Altabix. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere, perusing an array of meticulously crafted palms and selecting the perfect keepsake to commemorate the occasion. Additionally, on the morning of the procession, palms are available for purchase at the Paseo de la Estación, conveniently located next to the tourist office.

An event to witness in a lifetime

For those seeking a deeper understanding of this cherished tradition, the tourist office offers valuable insights into the history and significance of the Procession of the Palms. With its rich cultural heritage and unwavering commitment to preserving age-old customs, Elche invites visitors to embark on a journey of spiritual discovery and cultural immersion during the Easter season.

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Written by

Marina Lorente

A Spanish woman who has returned to her motherland after 6 years living in London. She is passionate about nature, animals and yoga.