Festivals in Spain

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Spain is the land of fiestas or festivals. In every single city, town and village there is a festival of some kind which gets all the townsfolk out on the streets partying with their neighbours. The biggest festivals of international fame are the bullrunning of Pamplona, the fireworks of Las Fallas in Valencia, the mock battles of Moros y Cristianos in Alcoy, Semana Santa in all of Andalucia and the massive Feria de Abril in Seville. In all of Andalucia there are bullfighting, flamenco, music and wine festivals whilst in small towns you’ll come across all kinds of strange festivals such as a snail festival in Lleida, a seafood festival in O’Grove and a paella festival in Sueca.

Spanish Festivals

Below we’ve included links to some of the more famous festivals in Spain and will continue to add more including the not so well known.

February

Carnival in Spain
There are wild festivities in Tenerife, Cadiz & Sitges during the Carnival celebrations in February whilst many more controlled fiestas take place all over Spain.

Carnival in Tenerife
The annual celebration of Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife is second only to ‘Carnaval’ in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil on the world party stage.

Carnival in Cadiz
Every February the ancient Andalucian city of Cadiz is transformed into one of Europe’s top party destinations as the annual Carnival celebrations come to town.

Seville Tapas Fair
Lovers of Spanish food will enjoy this tapas fair in February when the city’s top bars and restaurants compete with one another to produce the best tapas.

Jerez Flamenco Festival
The International Jerez Flamenco Festival attracts flamenco artists from all over the world. It usually begins in late February and continues for a fortnight.

March

Fallas Festival in Valencia
The Fallas is one of Spain’s biggest national festivals which takes place every March in Valencia to celebrate the feast of San José, the patron saint of carpenters. It consists of huge papier maché figure which are burnt during the course of the week along with an enormous amount of fireworks and plenty partying.

April

Holy Week in Seville
Semana Santa is Holy Week in Seville which is the full week leading up to Easter Sunday. Along with the April Fair it is one of the city’s main two annual festivals.

Seville April Fair
Seville’s and Spain’s biggest annual party, La Feria de Abril, takes place two weeks after Easter on a purpose built showground on the banks of the city’s Guadalquivir River.

Moros y Cristianos
Mock battles between Moors and Christians take place in the Valencia region of Spain to celebrate the ‘Reconquest’ of Spain from the Moors. The biggest of these festivals is in Alcoy (Alicante) on 22-24th April.

May

San Isidro in Madrid
Madrid’s main annual festival is San Isidro on May 15th which includes nine days of celebrations as well as the start of the capital’s bullfighting season.

El Rocio Pilgrimage
Little known outside Spain, the El Rocio Pilgrimage dates back to 1653 and attracts more than a million pilgrims to the small shrine of El Rocio in the province of Huelva in Andalucia.

Jerez Horse Fair
The annual ‘Feria del Caballo’ in Jerez de la Frontera is a celebration of Andalucia’s affinity with its regional horses. Horse lovers from around the world will be entranced by these beautiful animals.

Cruces de Mayo
This festival is also known as the May Crosses which is celebrated mainly in Cordoba and Granada at the start of May each year.

Corpus Christi
Whilst the Feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated all over Spain it is in Toledo that the festival is most impressive with international visitors arriving to admire the religious processions. The actual date of Corpus Christi depends on Easter so may actually take place in June.

June

Hogueras de San Juan
The ‘Bonfires of St John’ are celebrated in many places on Spain’s coastline, but nowhere more so than in Alicante.

La Tomatina Tomato Festival
La Tomatina is the world’s biggest tomato fight which takes place on the last Wednesday of August at Bunyol near Valencia.

Sonar Festival Barcelona
The annual Sonar Festival takes place every June in Barcelona attracting crowds of around 80,000 to this electronic music and digital arts event.

Barcelona Summer Festival – El Grec
Originally this was a theatrical event confined solely to Greek Theatre. Today it encompasses theatre, music, dance, flamenco, film and even circus.

Granada International Festival of Music & Dance
Every summer the city of Granada plays host to the international festival of music and dance which attracts performers from around the globe.

Baby Jumping Festival
This is one of Spain’s more weird annual festivals which has taken place in the Province of Burgos since 1621.

Haro Wine Festival
The Haro Wine Festival takes place on 29th June every year in the heart of the La Rioja winemaking region. It culminates in an enormous ‘wine battle’ leaving everyone soaked with red wine.

Madrid Pride Week
Spain’s biggest gay festival takes place at the end of June or the start of July every year in the city centre barrio of Chueca.

July

San Fermin Running of the Bulls
The fiesta of San Fermin is Pamplona’s famous running of the bulls which begins on 7th July. Bullruns are at 8am each morning.

Feast of Saint James
On 25th July thousands of pilgrims who have walked the Camino de Santiago congregate in Santiago de Compostela where the Saint’s tomb lies in the Cathedral.

Benicassim Festival
The Benicassim Festival is a four day music festival which takes place in mid-July every year on the coast of Valencia. Well known international bands and artists attract vast numbers of music fans from around the world.

Fiesta of Near Death Experiences
The oddly named Fiesta of Near Death Experiences takes place in As Neves in Galicia in July. Participants pay homage to Santa Marta in gratitude for allowing them to avoid death after a close encounter. They are carried in coffins by family and friends during bizarre processions.

Trujillo International Music Festival
Every July the historic city of Trujillo in Extremadura transforms into an international platform for the finest classical musicians in the world.

Virgen del Carmen Festival
The Virgen del Carmen Festival is celebrated by many communities along the Spanish coastline where locals pray that the Virgin will protect the town’s fishermen. Processions carry a statue of the Virgin to a fishing boat which is then taken out to sea as spectacular firework displays begin.

August

Feria de Malaga
The annual Feria de Malaga celebration is comparable with Seville’s Feria de Abril yet remains more of a local affair.

Semana Grande Bilbao
The festival of Semana Grande is known as ‘Aste Nagusia’ in Bilbao. It is celebrated in mid-August in Bilbao and is the biggest annual fiesta held in Northern Spain. It consists of great musical events, huge street parties and traditional Basque cultural activities.

Sanlucar Horse Races
The Sanlucar Horse Races or “Carreras de Caballos” take place in August on the beach at Sanlúcar de Barrameda near Jerez de la Frontera

Elx Mystery Play
The Mystery Play of Elx is one of Spain’s oldest and greatest cultural events which takes place every summer in Elche (Alicante).

September

Festes de la Merce
Barcelona’s biggest annual festival takes place on 24th September with giants parading around the streets, human pyramid competitions and heavy Cava consumption with fireworks and music of course!

Feria de Pedro Romero
During the first week of September in Ronda the whole town dresses in typical 18th century costumes and the town’s bullfight attracts the top matadors who also dress in Goyesque fashion in tribute to Pedro Romero, the so-called father of modern bullfighting.

Rioja Wine Festival
The 3rd week of September marks the celebration of San Mateo in Logroño which is a festival dedicated to the Rioja region’s grape harvest.

Jerez Sherry festival
Jerez’s autumn festival celebrates the year’s grape harvest (Las Fiestas de la Vendimia y Otoño). In total this is a three week party involving sherry tasting, horse shows and flamenco dancing.

October

Fiestas del Pilar
The Pilar Festival on 12th October is the biggest annual event in Zaragoza which also coincides with Columbus’s discovery of the Americas.

Cava week
Catalonia’s major Cava producing town is Sant Sadurní d’Anoia which has a Cava Week celebration dedicated to Catalan champagne.

November

All Saints Day
Todos Los Santos takes place on November 1st. It is an important national holiday when people from all over the country return to their birthplace to lay flowers on the graves of deceased relatives.

Fiesta del Orujo
This is an alcohol fuelled festival in the village of Potes in the Cantabrian mountains where villagers pay tribute to their locally produced liqueur. It’s strong stuff so be prepared!

Benidorm Fiestas
The biggest annual festival in Benidorm attracts many foreign visitors to the resort who join the locals in a week of partying.

December

Spanish Lottery – El Gordo
The national lottery on December 22nd engages the whole nation as people hope for a prize in the world’s biggest lottery which is known as ‘El Gordo’ … the fat one!

Christmas in Spain
Read a chronological description of how Spain celebrates Christmas and New Year with an explanation of typical family rituals.

Useful Fiesta Links …

Calendar of Spanish Festivals
Here is a 12 month account of all the main festivals in Spain.

Spain Wine Festivals
Throughout the country there are Fiestas de la Vendimia which celebrate the grape harvest. September is the best month for these.

Castellers de Vilafranca
Not a festival in itself but a group of Catalans who create human towers at festivals all over Catalonia, especially during the summer months.

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