History Queen of the Encounter and Angel of the Resurrection

The Holy Week in Torrent has a unique figure in Spain: the Queen of the Meeting. This is a young woman who presides over the events of Holy Week, representing the vicereine of Valencia, Germana de Foix (16th century). On one occasion, the vicereine presided over the act of the meeting between the Virgin and the resurrected Jesus on Resurrection Sunday and established that a young woman from the city would represent her when she was not present.

On Resurrection Sunday, the Queen of the Encounter presides over the event with her retinue of two waitresses and several pages who hold the train of her dress. At the end of the act, the carxofa is opened, coloured doves are released and small coloured papers known as ‘Aleluyas’ are thrown from the balconies, which are printed with small poems that exalt the Queen of the Encounter of that year or ironically comment on the current local political situation and the brotherhoods of the Holy Week.

A unique feature of the Encontre is the presence of the Queen of the Encontre, together with her waitresses and pages. Originally, she was chosen from among the relatives of the clavarios who organised the festival, or by the Town Council itself when there were none, and as an institution she was responsible for arranging everything necessary for the Encontre. The beautiful costumes they wore, sometimes in a variety of colours or white, were usually rented in the city of Valencia and were worn splendidly throughout the morning. During the procession, the Queen carried a beautifully crafted palm leaf and the waitresses each carried a tabaque containing a dove, which flew away at the moment of the Encounter. An indisputable allegory of the triumph over death and a clear allusion to the Holy Spirit symbolised by the dove.

On other occasions the Queen of the Meeting was or was accompanied by a retinue of angels during the procession. This fact would be a faithful reflection of the popular imagination transmitted through pious writings where Mary received the evangelical announcement of the Resurrection through an angel.

The emergence of the brotherhoods has also modified the election of the Queen of the Encounter and the Angel of the Resurrection and the development of the Encounter itself. The Queen is chosen in rotation among the brotherhoods, from among their most representative members, and is carried in procession in front of the Virgin of Monte-Sión with her entourage and surrounded by the members of the brotherhoods.

The Queen, who also symbolises the angel who announced the resurrection of Jesus Christ, carries in her hands a banner with the inscription “Alleluia” and is accompanied by her two waitresses, who carry palms or sometimes small chests (the use of the tabaques and the symbolism that this represented has been lost), and numerous pages escort the Queen carrying the enormous cloak of the dress. At the moment of the Encounter, the Queen proclaims in a loud voice, after the reading of a poem: Christ is Risen, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia! At this moment the Virgin is stripped of the black veil and purple cloak that covers her, the carxofa is opened from which numerous “aleluyas” fall, as well as from the balconies of the adjoining houses. Amidst the roar of the bangers and the sound of drums and bugles, numerous pigeons and birds fly. The banner carried by the Queen is placed in the hand of the Risen Christ, while she receives the beautifully crafted palm carried by the priest who presides over the procession of the Risen Christ.

Then the members of the brotherhoods, the Queen with all her entourage, together with the images and other participants in “l’Encontre” go to the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady to participate in the Resurrection Mass.

At the end of the mass, the brotherhoods and the Queen accompanied the Virgin in a jubilant procession to her parish church.

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