Spanish Fiestas And FestivalsSpanish Festivals and Fiestas are a celebration of what it means to be a Spaniard to be a par...
this year from April 3rd to May 8th, a colorful celebration that includes Parades of Horses in whichlocal girls dressed up...
hosts EL Festival de la Guitarra de Cordoba or Guitar Festival of Cordoba from the 6th to the 25th ofJuly an International...
music and dancing. Towards the end of the month and in anticipation of the Christmas Holidays theChristmas Market is setup...
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Spanish Fiestas And Festivals


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Spanish Fiestas And Festivals

  1. 1. Spanish Fiestas And FestivalsSpanish Festivals and Fiestas are a celebration of what it means to be a Spaniard to be a part of andto share a common National and Local History and with that said lets explore some ofthe many celebrations that take place throughout this colorful country.JanuaryThe year of Spanish festivals and fiestas celebration starts off in January with La Fiesta de laReconquista (Festival of the Conquest) in Granada to celebrate the taking back of the city from theMoors in 1492 with a number of parades outside the historic city hall. On January 5th in most citiesaround Spain the procession of the Three Kings takes place to celebrate the arrival of the Three WiseMen in the afternoon before Epiphany day, bringing presents for children. On January 17th Dia deSan Antonio Abad patron of the animals is celebrated throughout the Peninsula followed by the feastof St. Fabian and St. Sebastian on January 20th when the whole town of San Sebastian dresses upin celebration. On January 29th Fiesta de San Valero patron saint of the city of Zaragoza wherelocals and visitors share pieces of a giant Roscon (a sweet pastry made out of flour, sugar, milk,eggs).FebruarySpanish Festivals in February start off with Carnival being celebrated throughout Spain, MadridsCarnival was revived in 1976 after being prohibited under Francos Regime. It might not be one of thebigger ones but it still a lot of fun, I remember going with one of my many cousins to many of thecelebrations especially the one that ends on Ash Wednesday with the traditional Burial of la Sardina(sardine) Parade where all participants are dressed in black and carry a cardboard sardine in a coffinto be buried at La Fuente de los Pajaritos symbolizing the beginning of Lent. If you are looking to be apart of the Carnaval celebrations the biggest ones take place in Barcelona, Cadiz, Jerez and Sitges.Throughout the month of February you can attend The Seville Tapas Fair, the city of Sevilla devotesitself to catering to tapas lovers providing a perfect opportunity for visitors to sample some authenticSpanish Cuisine. Towards the end of the month the Jerez Flamenco Festival takes place starting onFebruary 25th and ending on March 12th. Here thousands of flamenco students gather each year toattend workshops and classes, a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn from the masters. Even if youare not lucky enough to get a student invitation if you love flamenco it is still worth making the journeyto view some of the most famous bailaores of our time perform at the Teatro Villamarta.MarchSpain has fiestas and festivals throughout the month on March 15th we have Las Fallas in Valencia aweek long succession of parades and other activities leading to its culmination on March 19th, theNight of Fire, with the burning of the giant papier mache figures to chase away the demons of winter.AprilApril has some of the biggest celebrations, Semana Santa or Holy Week the week before Easter,lasting 10 days and finishing on Domingo de la Ressurreccion (Easter Sunday) most impressive inSeville, Cordoba, Granada, Malaga, Cuenca, Jerez and Zamora. Feria de Abril in Sevilla takes place
  2. 2. this year from April 3rd to May 8th, a colorful celebration that includes Parades of Horses in whichlocal girls dressed up in flamenco costumes are paraded in beautiful carriages, performances offlamenco, bullfighting and prancing on the streets. We cannot forget the Moros y Cristianos (Moorsand Christian) celebrations that take place in various cities along the Spanish coast most famous isAlcoy, Alicante where the celebrations take place between the 22nd and 24th of April reliving thebattle between Moors and Christians that took place in the area many centuries ago. Ending themonth on the 27th of April we have the celebration of La Virgen de Monserrat in Cataluña declaredpatron saint of Cataluña by Pope Leo XIII.MayIn early May takes place the Feria del Queso in Trujillo where you can savor cheeses not only fromthe area but the world. In mid May takes place the Spanish Festival La Feria del Caballo in Jerez anevent visited by thousands which highlights the citys equestrian heritage. The Fair also includes alarge number of bullfighting and flamenco shows. During this month there is a low key event thattakes places in Cordoba called Concursos de los Patios or Popular Patios Competition held duringthe second or sometimes the third week of May residents of the old quarter of the city open theirprivate family courtyards to visitors. In the meantime Madrid celebrates de fiesta de San Isidromarking the start of the bullfighting season, a week-long celebration with parades, music, dancingfood fairs and bullfights. At the end of May beginning of June takes place the Spanish Festival laRomeria del Rocio in the region of Andalucia a pilgrimage either on foot or carriage to the shrine ofthe Virgen del Rocio (Virgin of the Dew) in Huelva.JuneIn early June we find the Christian Holiday of Corpus Christi, meaning the body of Christ, with someof the largest processions taking place in Barcelona, Valencia, Toledo, Malaga, Sevilla and Granada.We cannot forget the Sunday after Corpus Christi where an unusual Spanish Festival celebrationtakes place in Castrillo De Murcia, El Colacho, better known as the Baby Jumping Festival. Babiesare laid out on mattresses and grown men dressed as devils jump over the infants for the purpose ofcleansing them of all evil doings. In Huelva we have La Romeria del Rocio. The arrival of the summersolstice is celebrated with bonfires and fireworks in places like the feast de Las Hogueras de SanJuan en Alicante, a smaller version of the Fallas de Valencia, Las Noches de San Juan or the Nightof St. John in Zaragoza where bonfires blaze and fireworks are lit while families and friends gather onthe streets to celebrate, and Barcelonas Noches de San Juan or La Nit de Sant Joan wherethousands gather on the beach to light bonfires and celebrate until dawn. If you like to participate in aunique celebration head to Haro, La Rioja for the the Spanish Festival celebration that takes place onJune 29th when locals and tourist alike prepare themselves for the wine fight of their lives. Thecombat goes on for several hours until around noon when the crowd makes it way to the town centerfor a sort of mini running of the bulls.JulyAs we know Julys famous Spanish Festival celebration takes place in Pamplona with the running ofthe bulls (Fiesta de San Fermin) which always begins on the 7th of July and runs for a week. Cordoba
  3. 3. hosts EL Festival de la Guitarra de Cordoba or Guitar Festival of Cordoba from the 6th to the 25th ofJuly an International event which features many masters of the guitar. La Fiesta del Carmen takesplace along coastal towns such as Nerja and Fuengirola on July 16th to commemorate la Virgen delCarmen patron of sailors and fisherman. Towards the end of July the 24th and 25th takes place LaFiesta de Santiago or St. James Feast in Santiago de Compostela where the faithful gather to see thegreat Botafumeiro or huge incense burner in the cathedral representing the Kings Offering to theApostle and see the incredible fireworks display at the Plaza of Obradoiro. If you love jazz you mightconsider attending the San Sebastian Jazz Festival or Jazzaldia at the end of July 21st through the25th performances take place daily at the Old Towns Plaza de La Trinidad.AugustSpanish Festivals in August begin at Vitorias week-long celebration of the Festival de La VirgenBlanca (White Virgin) starts on August 4th and runs through the 9th culminating with a human stylepuppet that soars above the crowd in the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca. There is also La Fiesta de Aguacelebrating San Roque in the afternoon hoses, hydrants and buckets are brought it for a major waterfight. You can also attend the Strong Men Competition and sample lots of Basque food duringBilbaos Aste Nagusia celebration that runs for nine days starting on the 20th of the month. Lets notforget the famous La Tomatina Festival in Bunol, Valencia on August 31st where you will have athrowing tomato fight with very little rules... Dont fret about getting ammunition as the ripe fruit isbrought in by truck loads just for the occasion.SeptemberSeptember Spanish Festivals start with La Fiesta de La Vendimia (Jerez Sherry Festival) on the firstSaturday of the month in Jerez celebrating the Sherry grape harvest, including the blessing andceremonial crushing of a basket of grapes. Meanwhile on the second Sunday of the month the Fiestadel Arroz (Rice Festival) de Valencia commences with its international paella competition. All thewhile in Barcelona the celebration de La Merce, its main annual festival, takes place featuring humantowers some as high as 10 stories, fireworks, processions and dance performances. Then onSeptember 21st the San Sebastian Film Festival begins an international renowned event.OctoberOctober starts with a surfing competition in the Basque Coast the ASP World Tour Billabong Pro.October 12th is the day of La Hispanidad, this day there are celebrations taking place throughout thePeninsula commemorating the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the New World in 1492. Also inOctober the celebration de La Virgen del Pilar which lasts for seven days, among the events that takeplace are bullfights, fireworks and concerts. Foodies flock to Galicias O Grove Fiesta de Exaltaciondel Marisco Seafood Festival to taste the delicious Galician shellfish. If you are not into shellfish youcan opt to attend the Saffron Rose Festival in Consuegra to celebrate the harvesting of the flower.NovemberThe 1st day of November is Dia de Todos Los Santos or All Saints Day celebrated everywhere withone of the biggest celebrations taking place in Cadiz. In Cantabria the Festival de Orujo takes placewith a lot of eating and drinking taking place, locals dress up in their traditional costumes and there is
  4. 4. music and dancing. Towards the end of the month and in anticipation of the Christmas Holidays theChristmas Market is setup in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid where over 100 booths are set up sellinganywhere from religious artifacts to bizarre costumes to celebrate el Dia de Los Santos Inocentes onDecember 28th.DecemberChristmas in Spain is big, on December 21st the Hogueras (bonfires) de Granada and Jaen takeplace where attendees jump through bonfires to protect themselves from illness. The Christmaslottery draw takes place on December 22nd a tradition originating all the way back to 1812. Christmasis a very family oriented holiday in Spain starting with the Nochebuena (New Night) on December24th, I remember those evenings like they were yesterday our whole family (a big one 25+) would gettogether and celebrate by eating, drinking and being together. December 28th is El dia de los SantosInocentes or the equivalent of Aprils Fools. December ends with a huge celebration Noche Vieja (OldNight) and its tradition of eating the 12 grapes of good luck. As the New Year approaches familiesgather in front of the TV with their grapes and at 12 seconds to midnight the countdown begins, eachtime the clock in La Puerta del Sol in Madrid rings a new second every Spaniard eats a great for atotal of 12 grapes, a tradition believed to bring you good luck in the New Year!jazzdancing