Life in Spain, especially in the smaller cities and towns, is lived at a more sedate pace than most of it’s European neighbours and Spanish festivals, are a way of life. The Spanish people love a good party and throughout the country you will find Spanish festivals and fiestas celebrating all nature of things, from the humble tomato to the mighty bull.
Spanish Festivals & Popular Fiestas in Spain
Many Spanish festivals have a religious theme and they don’t get bigger or more elaborate than the festivals held for Semana Santa or Holy Week, Easter in Spain. Food and drink play a big part in a lot of the celebrations with different villages, towns and regions competing with their various regional specialities such as Paella.
Throughout the year locals hold Paella festivals, some just small Fiestas with a few Paella dishes being prepared for the enjoyment of the villagers whereas others are huge events. These events use massive Paella pans measuring metres across and literally sack and bucket loads of ingredients. Entire towns get together to enjoy the festivities and a delicious free meal.
Semana Santa Festival, Easter Holy Week
Semana Santa Festival is celebrated throughout Spain, with some of the largest and most colourful taking place in Malaga and Sevilla. Marking the arrival of spring, the week long celebrations fill the city’s streets, bars and restaurants. There are hundreds of floats, marching bands and processions, most including images of Christ and the Virgin Mary in different detail. The Semana Santa Festival will awaken all your senses with the sound of marching bands and the smell of burning incense and thousands of candles, a truly heart warming celebration of Easter.
Santa Faz Pilgrimage
The festival is one of Alicante’s most famous and is held on the 2nd Thursday after Easter with crowds of over 200,000 people taking part in the pilgrimage from the centre of the city to the Monasterio de Santa Faz.
Lately it has become popular to hold within four months of the pilgrimage, a party on the beach of San Juan. This is usually enjoyed by young people with music and other activities.
Las Fallas De Valencia
Las Fallas De Valencia is a huge 5 day celebration of fire and sees the usually quiet city of Valencia swell in numbers as up to 3 million revellers take to the streets to enjoy this amazing pyrotechnic display of fireworks and huge burning puppets, known as Ninots. Some of these 100 plus, lifelike puppets are so big they need to be moved by cranes, cost up to 65,000€ and can take months to build.
The Ninots are placed in parks and at intersections around the city, awaiting the day of La Crema ( the burning ). On the evening of La Crema, fireworks are put in holes in the Ninots and at midnight the street lights are turned off and all the Ninots are set ablaze, turning the night sky into an inferno of flames and fireworks. Similar to the Fourth of July, Las Fallas de Valencia is a spectacular festival, not to be missed.
La Tomatina Festival is one of Spain’s craziest celebrations that sees the town of Buñol literally painted red. Referred to as the largest tomato fight in the world, the town’s population of 9,000 swells to around 50,000 people. The Spanish festival of La Tomatina has been a tradition in the town of Buñol since the mid 1940’s and to this day nobody is certain how La Tomatina Festival originated.
On festival day, truck loads of tomatoes are ferried to the centre of town where a wooden pole is set up with a ham placed on top. Once one of the participants have managed to reach the top of the pole and claim the prize, water cannons are fired and the fight begins !!