The annual Benidorm fiestas take place in honour of the town’s patron Saints ‘la Virgen del Sufragio’ and ‘San Jaime Apóstol’. They always begin on the Friday of the second weekend of November and officially end the following Wednesday. During these days there are all kinds of street parties, open air theatre, sporting contests and music events of many genres as well as joyful religious events all of which serve to unite the population of Benidorm. The celebrations officially culminate in a huge parade of beautifully decorated floats early in the evening of the Wednesday followed by a fantastic firework display from Playa de Poniente. The people on the floats are all in fancy dress and throw thousands of sweets into the crowd so if you’re on holiday with children tell them to take a carrier bag to collect them.
Get hold of a copy of the Costa Blanca News once you’re there to find out precisely what’s going on and when. The first place online to list all the planned activities is the Visit Benidorm Website. Just look for “Benidorm’s Patron Saint Fiestas Programme”.
Origins of the Benidorm Festival
These fiestas can be traced back as far as March 1740 when legend has it that a ship was washed up on the local shore during a terrible storm. Not knowing where the ship had come from some of the local townsfolk decided to burn it so as to aleviate any danger of it being the source of an outbreak of any infectious diseases. In the ashes that remained they saw an image of the Virgin which they took to the church where a small chapel was built in her honour. A reenactment of this episode is staged every year on Playa de Poniente as part of the celebrations. The reason that the fiestas are in November rather than March are because otherwise the fishermen who were out at sea catching tuna wouldn’t have been able to attend so they were delayed until they returned from what was known as the ‘Almadraba’ in November.
Fancy Dress Thursday
Whilst the fiestas officially end with the Wednesday night fireworks display it is the unofficial Thursday that unites many of Benidorm’s British residents with visiting holidaymakers. The day is dedicated to a full day party in fancy dress that takes places all around the resort’s popular bars. Make sure to bring some fancy dress with you and don’t plan on travelling home on the Friday!