Festivals in Córdoba: Experience the Atmosphere of Andalucía

From the candlelit processions of Easter Week to the springtime patios fiesta, there are festivals in Córdoba all year round. These lively celebrations attract visitors from all over the country and from overseas who come to experience the distinctive local character of this charming the Andalucían city.

Semana Santa (Holy Week)

One of the most important festivals in Córdoba is Semana Santa (Holy Week), marking the week leading up to Easter on the Catholic calendar. Taking place in late March or early April, the event commemorates the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The highlights of Semana Santa are the atmospheric nightly processions which slowly wind through the historic streets of the city. The floats (pasos) contain statues depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ. They are carried as an act of devotion and penance on the shoulders of penitents dressed in long robes and tall, pointed hoods

Festivals in Córdoba: Semana Santa
Semana Santa Celebrations – Photo Credit: CC Pablo Cabezos

Currently there are 38 hermandades (brotherhoods) in Córdoba which take part, each with their own float, costumes and traditions. The processions depart from their home church and follow designated routes through the city streets, continuing well into the night. Some of the most revered floats include those carried by the hermandades de la Esperanza, el Cristo de la Humildad, la Hermandad de la Estrella and La Merced.

While Semana Santa is a deeply religious event, it attracts visitors from around the world who wish to observe the spectacle. The crowds lining the streets gather in respectful silence as the floats pass by, creating a mournful yet moving atmosphere in commemoration of Christ’s suffering.

Cruces de Mayo

In brighter spirits is the Cruces de Mayo festival held in Córdoba over three days each May. This much loved tradition transforms the city into a vibrant riot of colour and fragrance, as neighborhoods compete to create elaborate floral crosses. In the weeks leading up to the event, residents work together to construct beautiful crosses adorned with brightly coloured flowers and illuminated with fairy lights.

Festivals in Córdoba: Cruces de Mayo
Cruces de Mayo Festival in Córdoba

The crosses are displayed outside houses, in plazas and lining the streets to be viewed by the public. Guided tours allow visitors to admire the efforts of each neighbourhood. Food stalls provide traditional snacks and Córdobans of all ages take part in the cheerful festivities. Local bars set up loudspeakers playing Sevillanas music, with beer, sherry and tapas consumption together with dancing, as the party grows each night.

At the festival’s conclusion, a contest judges the most impressive floral crosses based on criteria like originality, effort and beauty. The Cruces de Mayo offers a glimpse into Córdoba’s vibrant culture.

Fiesta de los Patios

The first time I ever visited Córdoba was in winter after driving there from Madrid. I was surprised to see that many balconies of people’s apartments had geraniums on show. This is only possible thanks to the mild climate, in Madrid they would never survive the winter months.

Taking place over one week in May, La Fiesta de los Patios de Córdoba offers an intimate look inside the private patios of Córdoban residences. The people of Córdoba take great pride in their patios, decorating them with brightly coloured potted geraniums, fragrant jasmine, cascades of purple bougainvillea vines and elaborate ceramic tiles. For this week only, residents open their doors to visitors, providing a rare chance to admire these hidden green spaces.

The festival features patios of all sizes and styles, from simple working-class patios with laundry lines to expansive courtyard gardens filled with fountains and quirky artifacts. Guided tours are available to take in the most impressive examples. Despite some lively bustle between patios, there is also a quiet charm to wandering these tucked-away gardens. At the end of the week prizes are awarded to the best patios.

La Feria de Córdoba

Known locally as the Feria de Nuestra Señora de la Salud, the Córdoba Spring Fair is one of the main annual festivals in Córdoba. Taking place over two weeks in late May, this lively event transforms much of the city into a giant street party celebrating traditional Andalusian culture.

The centrepiece is the fairground located near the football stadium at El Arenal on the outskirts of the historic city centre. Here, rows of casetas – decorated tents – belong to specific families, businesses or organizations, each uniquely decorated with strings of lights. In the casetas, people gather to feast on local cuisine, drink Montilla-Moriles wines, sing flamenco songs and dance sevillanas late into the night for the festival’s duration.

Unlike the Feria de Abril in Seville, these casetas are open to the public allowing visitors to mingle with locals dressed in traditional riding outfits and flamenco dresses. From the casetas to the streets, La Feria de Córdoba encapsulates the lively and hospitable spirit of southern Spain for all to enjoy for two non-stop weeks of revelry. It showcases the very best of Andalusian culture in a vibrant celebratory extravaganza.

Festival de la Guitarra

Closing out Córdoba’s summer festival calendar is the acclaimed Festival de la Guitarra which is held for two weeks each June or July. As the birthplace of renowned flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía and home of the distinctive Córdoban flamenco style, the city has a storied musical heritage. This international guitar festival pays tribute to that legacy, showcasing leading flamenco guitarists from across the globe.

Córdoba Guitar Festival
El Festival de la Guitarra de Córdoba

The festival features nightly concerts from famous musicians – a highlight for any fan of Spanish guitar. Beyond the performances, there are also workshops, exhibitions, children’s classes and competitions for aspiring local artists. Through these events, the festival honors the integral role of the guitar in Cordoba’s culture and the city’s status as a pivotal point in flamenco history.

During the festival, the streets buzz with the sound of guitarists practicing their soulful melodies late into the warm summer nights. Music lovers flock from far and wide to immerse themselves in the contagious rhythms that perfectly capture the identity of this magical city. For two weeks in high summer, the Festival de la Guitarra allows both locals and tourists to celebrate Córdoba’s enduring musical spirit.

New Year Festivals in Córdoba

New Year’s Eve (Nochevieja): Córdobans welcome the New Year with celebrations centred around the bars of Plaza de las Tendillas. As the city’s church bells toll midnight, the people eat twelve grapes for good luck. Music, fireworks and parties continue late into the night all over the city.

Epiphany (Día de Los Reyes): Epiphany is celebrated annually on January 6th to mark the visit of the three wise men to the baby Jesus. On the night of January 5th parades wind through the streets with floats carrying the three kings who toss sweets to children in the crowd. Traditionally, Spanish children received their Christmas gifts the following morning but these days they tend to get presents on December 25th.

Festivals in Córdoba Dates (2024)

Semana Santa – 24th to 31st March
Cruces de Mayo – 26th April to 1st May
Fiesta de los Patios – 2nd to 12th May
Feria de Córdoba – 18th to 25th May
Festival de la Guitarra – First Fortnight of July

Whilst these dates are correct at the time of writing you should confirm them on the Turismo de Córdoba website.

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