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5 must see Spanish festivals – from the traditional to the bizarre!

Spain is the home of fiestas and Festivals. It is possible to travel around Spain and discover a party or celebration taking place in each town or village you visit. The Spanish love to celebrate and parties bring together whole communities. Many festivals and celebrations have religious connections such as those around Easter, some are focused on a particular food such as seafood and paella. Often the festivals are a little bizarre such as La Tomatina!

If you wish to fully immerse yourself in the Spanish culture when visiting Spain, it is worth hiring a car from eurocar and taking a tour of the many festivals that occur throughout the country. To help you plan your trip, here are a few of the “must see” festivals.

Las Fallas

Spanish Festivals - La Fallas, Valencia

Las Fallas is a five day event culminating in the arrival of St Joseph’s day on the 19th March. It takes place in Valencia on the Costa Blanca. Las Fallas originates from the middle ages when planks of wood were burnt in the spring by carpenters to celebrate the start of Spring. St Joseph is the patron saint of carpenters. In time the planks of wood were created into puppets, that often resembled well known characters in the area. The planks of wood and rudimentary puppets have now been replaced by elaborate puppetry constructed with cardboard and paper mache.

The festival is sometimes described as a festival of fire, as the festival ends with the burning of the puppets on St Joseph’s Day. Fireworks feature everyday during the festival and tourists are attracted from all over the world! Attending the festival is a fabulous experience and very uplifting due to celebrating the end of winter and the arrival of Spring. As this is such a major festival, hotels will be booked early so plan your trip in advance.

The Fallas of Valencia Festival has been declared an Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Spain is the home of fiestas and festivals. With traditional religious celebrations and the outright offbeat, there is bound to a festival for you - here are the top five Spanish festivals!Click To Tweet

Semana Santa

Spanish Festivals - Semana Santa, Seville

Semana Santa is the celebration of holy week and the celebrations occur all over Spain. Holy week is celebrated by processions of huge floats travelling through city streets. Each of the floats depict a part of the Easter story, some of the floats are historic masterpieces, the origin of which can be traced back to the 17th century.

The procession can take a number of hours, as teams of bearers carry the floats from their parish around the streets before returning. Following the floats are “penitents” wearing capes and head apparel that hides their identity. The Easter story is told over a period of days and can be sombre on Good Friday, followed by joyous celebration on Easter Sunday.

Semana Santa is a major festival attracting thousands of visitors, be sure to book accommodation early. As well as watching the procession, visit the churches. They are often intricately decorated with flowers and fruits – a spectacular sight!

La Tomatina

Spanish Festivals - La Tomantina, Valencia
La Tomatina is held in a town called Bunol in Valencia, it takes place on a Wednesday at the end of August. The festival is thought to have started in 1945 when an altercation resulted in tomatoes and vegetables being thrown. More than 70 years later the festival attracts thousands of people who wish to throw ripe tomatoes at each other, just for the fun of it! The tomato fight lasts for approximately an hour, following which the whole town is hosed down by fire trucks. The festival is basically the world’s biggest food fight!

San Fermin

Spanish Festivals - Bull Run, Pamplona

The festival of San Fermin occurs on 6th July every year. The festival is commonly known as the Running of The bulls and is situated in Pamplona. The festival dates back to the 13th century and is now thought to be a combination of religious festivals and a spanish bullfighting fiesta. The bull run takes place every morning at 8am over 8 days (7th – 14th July). Basically six fighting bulls are released onto the streets and the “runners” run to escape. The run takes approximately 3 minutes and is potentially very dangerous for the runners and spectators.

Bullfighting is not to everyone’s taste and some people consider the custom to be barbaric. This doesn’t seem to stop the thousands of people who flock to the area every year to take part or watch the fiesta.

The festival is now a ticket event and the numbers are limited to 20000. Be prepared to plan a trip well in advance. The night before the fight takes place most of the participants stay up partying, so arrive early. Hopefully you will have the stamina to last!

Carnival

Spanish Festivals - the Tenerife Carnival

The Tenerife Carnival takes place every february and lasts for 27 days! Tenerife is classed as the carnival capital in Europe, second only to rio janeiro in its extravagance. Visitors are attracted from all over the world, all attracted to the glitz and glamour. The carnival has been running for centuries and could be described as watching a show unfold on the streets. Each year a different theme is chosen La Fantasia – fantasy was the theme in 2018.

The carnival is held in the santa Cruz area of Tenerife and has been declared a Tourist Festival of International Interest. The carnival opens with a parade which continues throughout the night. Thousands of revellers participate in fancy dress according to the theme. The party then continues night after night until it ends on Ash Wednesday, with the “burial of the sardine”. The following weekend the celebration of the pinata occurs culminating in a dazzling firework display.

February is a busy month for tourism in Tenerife due to the celebrations, therefore book your trip early.

This is just a small snapshot of the many festivals and fiestas that take place in Spain. There are thousands more, ranging from the traditional to the bizarre! It is worth trying to time a trip to Spain so that you can experience a festival. Whichever you choose, you are guaranteed to have fun.

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