Corpus Christi

El Corpus Christi

The Corpus Christi is also called by the Toledo “La Semana Grande”, and this holiday with a tradition of centuries, in which the Custody of Arfe momentarily leaves the Cathedral of Toledo to tour its decked streets, is the most important day In the calendar of religious holidays and in the tradition of the city. And this is evidenced by the recognition as a Festival of International Tourist Interest, which attracts many tourists from all over the world to participate first hand on this day so marked.

Documentary evidence of the first time a procession was made in 1418, with the cathedral still under construction, and without the existence of the famous Custody of Arfe. It was later, with Carlos I and Felipe II in the throne, when the celebration gained special relevance, that has continued practically of uninterrupted form since then.

Since weeks before the procession, the whole city is prepared, and the municipal workers place awnings that will protect from the merciless heat of Toledo during those dates. The neighbors of the streets where the procession will take place, and the “Junta Pro Corpus”, will be in charge of decorating the whole route with flowers, shawls, banners, lanterns, and a myriad of ornaments specially created for the occasion. Also ephemeral arches of branches and flowers are placed in some strategic places of the procession, as in the square of Zocodover, or in the one of San Marcos.

Tradition says that it is fortunate that days before the procession “the awnings get wet”. That is, it rains. And this tradition of good luck has been going on continuously over the last few years. Another peculiarity is the placement of hundreds, thousands, of chairs of every type and condition along the route. And is that the neighbors have this peculiar way of reserving their place to be able to comfortably enjoy the procession. This processional route will also be visited by the typical Giants and Cabezudos, and by the traditional “Tarasca”, so dear in the imperial city of the Tagus.

When the big day arrives, the toledanos wake up at dawn with the shot of the Royal Pumps, who welcome the day in this peculiar way. In the meantime, the workers try to give the finishing touches to the processional process, filling the soil with aromatic herbs (mainly thyme), and hanging on the walls of the Cathedral showy Flemish tapestries from the 16th and 16th centuries. At eleven o’clock in the morning the solemn pontifical mass, presided over by the archbishop, begins in the Cathedral, and shortly before the end, the first members of the processional party begin to leave the Llane Gate. In the street they await the pickets on horseback of the Civil Guard and the National Police, in their uniform of gala, as well as the municipal timbaleros, opening the procession behind the pertiguero and the Processional Cross.

Behind them, all the brotherhoods and brotherhoods, cofradías and chapters participating, whose order is determined according to its aims, function and antiquity, being the most veteran participants who are more behind, and at the same time closer to the Custody. This order is only altered with the Knights of Corpus Christi despite being of recent incorporation, by bearing precisely this title, and having its seat in the Cathedral.

At the moment when the Custody with the Blessed Sacrament leaves the Llane Gate, to begin its journey through the streets of Toledo, shots of mortars announce it to all Toledo and visitors. Shots that will be repeated when Zocodover Square arrives, where the Archbishop will deliver a sermon and give the blessing, and again when he returns to the interior of the cathedral temple.

On the occasion of these religious holidays, different cultural, sporting and artistic events were organized in Toledo for different weeks.

It is possible to say that it does not have a fixed date, but corresponds to the liturgical calendar being able to fall in May or June.

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