Spain is one of the world’s most celebrated countries when it comes to festivals or fiestas. There are countless numbers of them every year, and are a huge part of Spanish culture and its people. Many of the fiestas that take place originated as religious celebrations to honour patron saints of the respective local areas.
Some of the festivals are serious processionals and of a ritualistic nature, but most of them include closing down streets, fireworks, music, dancing in the streets – and are anything but tame or stiff. Quite a few of the festivals in Spain are delightfully out of the ordinary and are hugely popular in attracting tourists from all over the world.
Here are a few festivals worthy of honourable mention:
Enciero (Running of the Bulls) takes place in the city of Pamplona in Navarre, Spain. It happens once a year in July to celebrate Saint Fermin. A course is blocked off and people (mainly tourists) run from enraged bulls down the street into the bullfighting stadium. Find out more about Running of the Bulls!
The Feria de Abril de Sevilla (The Seville April Fair or Seville Spring Fair) takes place in Seville in Andalusia, Spain. Seville is transformed into a land of fairy tales. Gallantly equestrian dressed Spanish riders ride around, paper lanterns are lit, and tented pavilions are set up all over town and music and dancing fills the streets.
One of the most important festivals celebrated in Spain is the Semana Santa, which has taken place since the 1600’s and is celebrated all over the country. It takes place during Holy Week, starting on Palm Sunday until Easter Sunday. All week, processions of religious brotherhoods and orders wear their robes and carry large and heavy sculptures depicting the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, and portraying the events of the Passion Week. On the Thursday of Holy Week, there is a procession begins in the evening and continues until the next day, on the afternoon of Good Friday.
By far, the Tomatina festival is the most popular, next to the Running of the Bulls. It takes place on Wednesday of the last week of August in the village of Buñol which is in Valencia, Spain, and approximately 30,000 tourists flood the village to participate in the world’s largest food fight. 100 tonnes of tomatoes are delivered to the village centre where the harmless food fight begins for 1 hour. Find out more about Tomatina: the World’s Biggest Food Fight!
The most peculiar festival is called El Entierro de la Sardina (The Burial of the Sardine) that takes place on Ash Wednesday, mainly in Madrid, but also in other cities in Spain. Participants dress up in elaborate costumes for a procession to attend the funeral of a sardine. A real sardine is used and is placed in a cardboard or plastic coffin.
So if you’re looking for a fantastic fiesta with a different spin – try Spain for your next vacation!