Popular Spanish celebrations you can’t miss in 2018
As I said I will give you one celebration per month, I know….it is not enough, but I will try my best.
La cabalgata de los Reyes Magos-you can go anywhere in Spain,
Every city, does not matter the size of it probably has a parade with the “Reyes Magos”-The Three wise men, it is a fantastic parade, it takes place around 6-7pm and it is full of light and illusion, really worth it to seeing to live a Spanish Christmas and understand a bit more of its culture.
Carnavales –tenerife y cadiz
In Spain we also celebrate Carnival, the dates varies, but it is usually around mid or the end of February, this year is the weekend of the 9th of February, and it is usually only the weekend, but some parts of Spain have over 5 days of celebrations and costumes.
And even when it is celebrate all over the country the most known ones are the one in Tenerife (Canary Island) and Cadiz (Andalucía) if you like party and dressing up you can’t miss it! These two cities also have goof weather all the year around so the streets become a huge stage with performances and parades.
The big day is the 19th of March, but the celebrations last a few days.
Each neighbourhood of the city has an organised group of people, the Casal faller, that works all year long holding fundraising parties and dinners. Each casal faller produces a construction known as a falla which is eventually burnt. Normally the construction is a satire regarding something that happen the previous year.
1. Semana santa-All the country
Spain is a catholic country and Easter is celebrate as well all around Spain, so pretty much every city you choose is a sure bet to soak up the Spanish culture, but the most popular one is the one in Andalucia, the south of Spain, where parades, devotion and of course rinks to celebrate.
2. Feria de Abril, in Sevilla, Andalucía,
Nobody knows why is called Feria de Abril when it normally takes place is May.
Each day the festival begins with the parade of carriages and riders, at midday, carrying Seville’s leading citizens which make their way to the bullring, ” La Real Maestranza” where the bullfighters and breeders meet.
For the duration of the fair, the fairgrounds and a vast area on the far bank of the Guadalquivir River r are totally covered in rows of casetas (individual decorated tents which are temporarily built on the fairground). These casetas usually belong to prominent families of Seville, groups of friends, clubs, trade associations and political parties. From around nine at night until six or seven the following morning, at first in the streets and later only within each caseta, there are crowds partying and dancing sevillanas , drinking sherry, rebujito and manzanilla, and eating tapas. This fair also has an amusement park that comes with it and has lots of games to play along with roller coasters to ride.
May means the beginning of the summer weather and it has lots of celebrations, so I have choose a few for you.
1. Las Cruces de Mayo in Granada, Andalucía. 2nd and 3rd of May.
Although Granada is famous for it, this celebration takes place in other cities too.
Various groups of people – usually linked to the “Hermandades”, the religious Brotherhoods who organise the Easter Week processions, get together and decorate a tall cross with flowers.
They choose a pretty square or street, and also decorate the area around the cross with typical and traditional items. They set out these beautiful items, redolent of the past and of the traditions of the town, making an artistic display that everyone comes to admire.
Although it is normally one of the Brotherhoods decorating the crosses, it can also be a group of friends and neighbours, a youth group, a Charity, who get together to produce these lovely events.
The city is full of colour with the spring this city is also known for its well sized tapas, so you can do a tour looking for some crosses and have some tapas too.
2. Festival de Patios, in Córdoba, Andaluía (5th-18th of May)
When Cordobans celebrate the annual Courtyard Festival and Contest, the beautiful courtyards of their homes are open to the public. Many house owners in Cordoba’s traditional neighborhoods join the contest and open their doors. So everyone has the chance to get insights in architectural treasures that are typical for Cordoba – the so called Patios. During the festival, people are welcome to enjoy courtyards of incomparable beauty, packed with trees and flowers, fountains and accessories.
La batalla del vino-Haro-La Rioja (27th-30th )
Every year thousands of thirsty locals and a handful of lucky (wine addicted) tourists climb a mountain in La Rioja, Spain, and throw the sweet red liquid all over each other. After a few hours of “fighting” and fun, the fight descends down the mountain and moves into the town of Haro, where the only fight is done with traditional dances – the kind that can only be induced by hours of red wine pouring down one’s throat.
I am sure you have heard of it, but this celebration is a must, and it is just so much fun.
The festival is a week-long. The celebrations start at noon on the 6th of July, when the opening of the party is marked by setting off the pyrotechnic chupinazo, and continue until midnight, on the 14th of July, with the singing of the Pobre de Mí. While its most famous event is the encierro, or the running of the bulls which happens at 8:00 AM from the 7th of July to the 14th July, the festival involves many other traditional and folkloric events.
1. La Tomatina-Buñol-Valencia
The same that happens is in June in Haro with wine, it duplicates in Buñol but with tomatos.
In this festival the participants throw tomatoes and get involved in this tomato fight purely for entertainment purposes.
In August we also have
2. El descenso del Sella in Arriondas and Ribadelsella, Asturias.
Traditionally people went there to get down the river by canoe, but nowadays this party has developed in a big festival, and there is place where you can camp that weekend, concerts and so much social events you can do before you see the canoes descending the river.
1. Las Guerras Cántabras– Los Corrales de Buelna, Cantabrial (26th August-4th of September)
This performance reproduces the resistance from people of this area agains the Roman Empire. The performance represents the battle, they even make a reconstruction of a Roman camp, building of that time and a market.
2. Fiestas de la Vendimia y San Mateo
Also in September there are many Festivals due to the wine harvest in areas known for the wine.
A special big one also related with wine is “San Mateo” which takes place in Logroño, La Rioja.
12 de Octubre-La hispanidad
It is Spanish National day. It commemorates the anniversary of Columbus’s first arrival in America. Although nowadays nothing big happens, except for a couple of military parades in Madrid.
Dia de los Santos, 1st of November.
Although the party is not as big as in México, it is quite popular in Spain, but it is more a familiar orientated celebration, people normally go to the graveyards to pay tribute to the loved ones that they are not longer with us.
Spain loves Christmas and it last from the 24th of December until the 6th of January, although, people work in between, but it is a good time to visit the country and feel the Christmas spirit and see the cities light up, it has a special charm.
If you want to know more about Spanish Christmas you can read more here http://spanishconnectionedinburgh.co.uk/spanish-christmas/
I know, I know, Spain has so many celebrations, so to make this selection I needed to left out some of them . But that is why we need to get social, if you are visiting a Spanish city in 2018 and you would like to know when is a good season to go or if that city has a popular celebration ask in the comments below I would love to help you. Also if you have visited any other popular celebrations please share with us in the comments I would love to know.
One last thing, if you know someone who is learning Spanish or is in love with the Spanish culture please do not keep this blog as a secret share it with them, I am sure they will be grateful, and so will I.
All the best for this 2018, and a massive thank you to stay there with me.
Write you next week