Spain - España
In Spain summer means music festivals. Some of them are: Sonar Festival in Barcelona in June. Monegros Desert Festival in Fraga, Huesca in July. Festival Internacional de Benicassim in Benicassim in July. Summercase in Madrid in July and Azkena Rock Festival in Vitoria - Gasteiz in September.
Costa del Sol and Malaga Festivals - Spanish Festivals in Malaga
Spain belongs to one of the few areas in the world where wild horses have survived since ice ages. There is evidence that horses have been living on the Iberian Peninsula since 5000 BC These medium-sized horses originally lived mainly in the plains of southern Spain, an area that we all know the name of Andalusia. Then nobody knows for sure what happened, but today there are still wild horses living in northern Spain, although it seems incredible. The herds graze freely in the northern Spanish provinces of Galicia.
The festival Rapa Das Bestas is celebrated in Galicia at the end of June, July and August. The wild horses from the mountains of Galicia are gathered in a "Curro", a kind of arena, where they are marked and both the tail and the mane are trimmed. Then the horses are returned to their freedom in the mountains.
Some of the festivals A Rapa das Bestas in Galicia in Northern Spain are following:
In the province of A Coruña: A Capelada (Cedeira) June 29, As Cañizadas (Pobra do Caramiñal) 12 / 19 July.
In the province of Lugo: Candaoso (Viveiro) 1st Sunday in July, Campo do Oso (Mondoñedo) Last Sunday in July, 0 Valadouro (Santo Tomé) First Sunday in August.
In the province of Pontevedra: Moug (Oia) June 8, Morgadáns (Gondomar) June 15, San Cibrao (Gondomar) June 22, Sabucedo (A Estrada) July 6, Monte Castelo (Cotobade) August 3, Parry Arta (A Cañiza) August 31, 0 Galiñiro (Gondomar ).
La Rioja is undoubtedly a wine region that most people know, but life in Haro (La Rioja) is not only serious sleepy wineyards and wine cellars. A wine war / wine battle is tradition in the region, and that means that wine is the only weapon.
The wine battle festival i Haro takes place on June 29. It starts at 7 o'clock in the morning with a parade through the city. Most participants are dressed in white clothes and wearing a red scarf. All of them carries wine in different cups, jugs and bottles. They are on their way to the park Los Riscos de Bilibio where the festival ends with food and wine.
Staying close to the Spanish coast or on any of the Spanish islands on July 16 you should try not to miss the fishermen's and sailors' Fiestas del Carmen where they celebrate their patron saint: Virgen del Carmen. Boats and ships are decorated with flowers and beautiful colours and then carry away with the patron saint in a maritime procession, often between different ports where a lot of people are waiting for the sailors and the fishermen. The Fiestas Virgen del Carmen are a must of the Spanish summer.
Battle of Catoira in the Spanish region Galicia
The festival celebrates when the Vikings arrived from Scandinavia and conquered large parts of Europe. After the Vikings conquered large areas in southern France, they also tried to conquer parts of Spain: The Normans land on the north Spanish coast and it is the historical event that are related to the viking festival in Galicia.
One of the Andalusian cities with the most traditional Spanish character is Jerez de la Frontera in Cadiz.
Jerez is the home of sherry wine. To visit any of the sherry bodegas is almost a must when one is in place.
It is best to book in advance if you wish to visit the wine cellars in Jerez, you can not just "drop in".
But Jerez de la Frontera is much more than that. Many believe that flamenco culture was born in Jerez and the city has a huge tradition of horse breeding and dress ring. The Spanish Riding School in Jerez is probably the world's best and no one can see the show without being amazed. In recent years motor sports and golf have taken their place in the Jerez. The festivals and events happens continously throughout the year in Jerez. There is always something going on in Jerez de la Frontera.
In the month of May the horses and the festival "La Feria del Caballo" are the highlight in Jerez de la Frontera. The huge festive area of 52 000 m2 is illuminated with 1.2 million lamps and is visited by more than 2 million people. It is said that half a million bottles of sherry are sold (And drunk) during the festive week where horses and parades are all over the city.
In September, the Autumn Festival in Jerez is going on during almost three weeks, "Fiestas de Otoño". The festival is a mix of all local traditions: Wine, horses and flamenco, what makes it a lovely Andalusian cultural festival.
One of Spain's most unique festivals is the "Tomato War" or "Tomato Fight" that takes place in the municipality of Buñol in Valencia on the Mediterranean coast in eastern Spain every summer. According to the famous travel guide book Lonely Planet this Spanish Festival is one of very best festivals in the world. (That is if you don't mind getting pelted with ripe tomatoes or if you enjoy throwing ripe tomatoes to see others dressed in tomato sauce!
Lonely Planet says: "World’s very best festivals: Getting pelted with ripe tomatoes may sound like a punishment reserved for medieval rogues in the stocks, but it’s all in the name of fun at La Tomatina. For morning a year, the small town of Buñol in eastern Spain dissolves into the world’s greatest tomato fight"
The event La Tomatina (Tomato-throwing Festival) in Buñol in is considered to be of national tourist interest, although it may seem very silly to throw ripe tomatoes at each other.
The Spanish festival called "La Tomatina" is since 2002 one of the privileged events in Spain that are included in the list of festivals with national tourist interest.
Minorca: The tiny Mediterranean island Minorca belonging to the Spanish Balearic Islands is not only sun and beaches but also the horses own paradise in Europe.
The truth is that the number of horses per square kilometre of Minorca is the highest in Europe. The Mediterranean island Minorca even has its own breed and of course also a festival where horses are the highligt.
Seville "feria" or as it is known: Feria de Abril (April festival), is probably the biggest festival in Spain. La Feria de Abril, takes place in Seville two weeks after Easter, never mind if it has to be in May, they still call it April Fair.
La Freia de Sevilla or Seville Fair is like the village festivals which are celebrated in all Spanish towns and cities once a year, but in a huge version.
Seville's famous celebrations Feria de Sevilla started in 1849. Then it was only a regional cattle market, held for the first time. Today the yearly festival in Seville is one of the most important folkloric events in Europe.
Andalusia is a region with many traditions and most have a strong religious connection. One of the most spectacular festivals that can be seen in Spain is the pilgrimage to El Rocio, which annually draws over one million catholics in a small village in Huelva, Andalusia. The village El Rocio has over the year only a few hundred inhabitants, which gives an idea of its small size. The religious festivals highlight is associated with Whitsuntide.
The streets in the northern Spanish city of Pamplona in Navarre are filled each year with bulls and people from all over the world. The celebrations are taking place for nine days, with its nine nights and the famous running of the bulls in early hours every morning while the festival lasts. All Spanish towns celebrate their saint once a year, but Pamplona do not follow the usual festive protocol and has become world famous for the bulls and the bull running festival.
The festival Las Fallas in Valencia in Spain is not like any other festival or celebration in the world.
Valencia’s year-round festive air reaches its highest during the Fallas festival in spring. The festival consists of the burning of enormous, elaborate papier maché dolls. It is yet another of many Spanish fiestas that started rather modestly, carpenters would burn wood shavings to mark the end of winter and evolved over the centuries into an enormous party involving the entire population of Spain’s third largest city, Valencia.
The streets of Valencia are filled with huge colourful statues during the festival, those are made of paper and board and called Ninots or Fallas. All of them except one will burn in fire on the last day of the festival. Only the winning paper statue will be saved from the flames of fire and brought to the museum that houses all the winning fallas and ninots. The paper statues that makes up the highlight of the yearly festival in Valencia can be up to 15-20 feet high.
One of the most traditional festivals in Spain, where Moors and Christians will once again meet on the Costa Blanca in the Valencia region. The battles between Moors and Christians takes place in Alcoy, Alicante on 22-24th April. The festival is considered to be of international interest in culture.
When spring comes Cordoba in Andalusia flowers up for the summer: The Festival "Los Patios de Córdoba" belongs to the spring.
The classic Southern architecture of Cordoba is almost always full of "patios" which translates as courtyards, where local people protect themselves from the Spanish summer's hot temperatures. In the Spanish hinterland, the days in July-August almost unbearably hot, with temperatures well above 40 degrees Celsius during the hot Spanish summer afternoon hours.
Tarragona is a city of light and colour. Its wonderful climate, Mediterranean character, friendly atmosphere and the hospitality of its people make it a great place for leisure, both festive and cultural, in the open air. Tarragona is synonymous with Fiesta (parties) and the fiesta is lived in the street. The city hosts regular musical and theatrical productions as well as a diversity of leisure and cultural events that have gained international acclaim. Tarragona’s festive calendar covers the entire year with its range of traditional festivals, both local and regional.
Tarragona offers a wide variety of traditional festivals to its visitors, such as its carnivals. During the two weeks prior to Easter the International Dixieland Festival is celebrated, it is currently the only one of its type in Spain. Tradition and spirituality coexist at Easter in Tarragona, being the most time-honoured in Spanish Mediterranean, with its Santo Enterro procession taking place in the afternoon on Good Friday. It originated in 1550 and has been declared Traditional Festival of National Interest by the Generalitat de Catalunya.
Roman History Popularization open days called Tarraco Viva, celebrated in the second two weeks of May, allow the visitor to contemplate reproductions of life during Roman times. Trials, military parades, and gladiator fights are relived and dishes eaten by our Roman ancestors can be sampled in restaurants of the city.
During the summer months exciting performances by the Castellers (human castles) can be enjoyed. In Tarragona there are four colles (groups) that raise up daredevil castles of up to nine stories high. Also during the summer months the Festival d’Estiu (ETC) (summer festival) takes place, consisting of theatrical, musical, dance and cinematic events as well as a classical music show, a Kesse show of new trends in music and from all over the world, open air dance series, etc.
During the entire first week of July the International Fireworks Competition is held. 19th August is Sant Magí, the city’s patron saint. Over four or five days the Castells (human castles), the Sant Magí procession, night parties, rock, jazz and habaneras (music from Havana, Cuba) serve as preparation for the grand festival of Santa Tecla.·The Festa Mayor (patron saint festival) is commemorated on 23rd September in honour of the city’s female patron saint, Santa Tecla, originally from 1370. This festival was declaredTraditional Festival of National Interest by the Generalitat de Catalunya and Festival of National State and Tourist Interest by the Spanish Government. Over ten days Santa Tecla fills the city with an explosion of happiness, music, colour and tradition. All the traditional elements participate in the Popular Procession, including the richest combination of dances and spoken dances as conserved within Catalonia. And now you can enjoy the House of the Festival, which opened recently.
The first Sunday of October of every even year is the day chosen for the main 18 colles castellers (human castle groups) of Catalonia to congregate in the bull ring for a long, controversial and exciting Castells Competition.
In the month of November a Setmana Literaria (Literary Week) is organised and the Literary Prizes of the City of Tarragona are awarded in different sections: poetry, narrative, theatre and translation. During the Christmas period the city becomes colourful with the lights put up all around the streets and squares and a Christmas Fair is held in the Rambla Nova, as well as an important exhibition of nativity scenes.
San Sebastian becomes intensely vibrant during the festivals held throughout the year. The annual fiestas include (in chronological order, starting in January) the unique “Tamborrada” drumming parades held on the feast day of the city's patron saint, St. Sebastian; Carnival; Semana Grande – ‘Big Week’ and its famous International Firework Competition; Euskal Jaiak - the Basque Festivities; and St. Thomas' Feast Day. San Sebastian has worked very hard to foster art and creativity on all levels; proofs of this are the many Festivals held throughout the year in the city. If you time your visit to coincide with one of the many festivals in San Sebastian, it will show you its most cosmopolitan face.
In addition to the prestigious San Sebastian International Film Festival, which every September brings together on its pink carpet the full national and international filmmaking panorama, in San Sebastian many other top-flight festivals are held. The city streets move in time to the music during the International Jazz Festival in San Sebastian, held at legendary venues such as Trinidad Square and the terraces of the Kursaal, as well as on the beach, and also during Music Fortnight – one of Spain's most traditional and best-known classical music festivals. The same streets are turned into improvised stages when the dFeria Theatre Fair begins.
Coinciding with Halloween, the Horror and Fantasy Film Week in San Sebastian turns the city into a horror film. San Sebastian demonstrates its commitment to defending civil rights and freedoms during the Film and Human Rights Festival, while creativity gets the professional treatment at El Sol Latin American Advertising Festival. One of the latest festivals to choose San Sebastian as its venue is the Surfilm Surfing Film Festival – young, dynamic and full of activities that link the art of filmmaking with the world of surfing on our doorstep.
Read more about festivals and fiestas in San Sebastian: Click HERE >>
FESTIVALS OF INTERNATIONAL TOURIST INTEREST IN GALICIA
The Fiestas for the Apostle in SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA (A Coruña), a festival held on the 25th of July, Galicia Day. During the week previous to the 25th, games and cultural activities are held in the city. On the night of the 24th, the Fuegos del Apóstol take place (fireworks display in Plaza del Obradoiro).
Viking Festival, CATOIRA (Pontevedra), 1st Sunday in August. This festival evokes the presence of the Normans in the Galician rías during the middle ages with a spectacular re-enactment of the landing of the Vikings from a replica of an old Viking drakar ship. One of the high points of the festival is the gastronomic feast which draws enormous crowds.
The International Festival of the Celtic World, ORTIGUEIRA (A Coruña). Held during the first fortnight in July with performances by major soloists and groups from the Celtic folk music scene of Europe
A Rapa das Bestas, SAN LOURENZO DE SABUCEDO-A ESTRADA (Pontevedra), 1st weekend in July. During this festival, wild horses come down from the hills (baixa das bestas) to the roundup, where they will be branded and their manes clipped. It is a combination rodeo and religious event, since it marks the yearly renovation of an old pact made between the villagers and their patron saint, San Lourenzo, who is credited with having taken care of the animals after they had been struck by a devastating plague. This event dates back in time to more than two centuries.
Entroido of XINZO DE LIMIA (Ourense). The date of this festival varies (February or March). This Carnival festival is held on the Saturday and Tuesday before ash Wednesday and the previous Sunday and following Thursday. The streets are filled with multicoloured masked revellers, known as pantallas, who go around hitting passers-by with animals tripes blown up like balloons, creating a fun-filled and festive atmosphere throughout the village.
Easter - Holy Week, VIVEIRO (Lugo). (March or April). This religious celebration is renowned for its images (articulated, life-size figures) and processions, particularly the Via Crucis, the Descent and the Encounter.
Easter - Holy Week, FERROL (A Coruña). Processions parade through the streets of this city with their “floats” (considered to be the best in the north of Spain) with which bearers from the different brotherhoods carrying the images on their shoulders. There are enormous crowds of people participating in the event.
Easter - The Feast of Santo Cristo of FISTERRA (A Coruña), in April. This festival coincides with Easter Sunday of the Holy Week. The Cristo da Barba Dourada, widely venerated all over the Costa da Morte, is the focal point of this festivity. There is a performance of several scenes from the Resurrection of Christ followed by the Danza de As Areas, a combination religious and folkloric spectacle performed in front of the church of Santa María de Fisterra, also known as the church of As Areas.
Fair and Exhibition Promoting the Wine from the Area of O Ribeiro, RIBADAVIA (Ourense). This festival has been held for a quarter of a century. There is an exhibit and a tribute to the famous wines with the appellation d’origine of O Ribeiro. The fair and exhibition includes a number of folkloric and cultural activities. Thousands of people attend this event.
Corpus Christi, PONTEAREAS (PONTEVEDRA), held during the first fortnight in June. The Corpus festival of Ponteareas is widely known for the floral display covering the streets where the procession of the Holy Sacrament will be paraded. The flowers covering the streets as floral carpets are veritable works of art.
A Rapa das Bestas of Candaoso in San Andrés de Boimente, VIVEIRO (Lugo), 1st Sunday in July. Similar to the previous festival. Both of these events feature the additional show of the fight between the garañóns (the studhorses established as the leaders of their packs), and the demonstration of the skills and strength of the breeders who round up the animals into groups to be branded and clipped.
Fiesta of San Bieito de Lérez, PONTEVEDRA, July 11th. San Bieito (Saint Benedict) is credited with having the power to cure skin problems and goitre. So, every July 11th, it is possible to see believers going up and down the atrium of the church, an old Benedictine monastery, on their knees, or at the altar touching the image of the saint with pieces of cloth to be used later on all manner of skin growths, such as pimples and warts.
Albariño Wine Festival, CAMBADOS (PONTEVEDRA), 1st Sunday in August. One of the most widely attended gastronomic festivals in Galicia, with as many as 40,000 visitors. The highly esteemed Albariño wines of this region may be tasted and purchased.
Fiesta de la Santa Cruz, RIBADEO (Lugo), 1st Sunday in August. In a setting of incomparable beauty, the Monte de Santa Cruz (which offers panoramic views of the ría del Eo and the neighbouring region of Asturias), the festival known as the Xira de Santa Cruz and the Día da Gaita Galega (Galician Bagpipe Day) is held.
Festa do Polbo, O CARBALLIÑO (Ourense), 2nd Sunday in August. Octopus served at the local fairs is one of the most popular dishes in Galicia. O Carballiño is the home of the most famous pulpeiras (places that serve octopus)and on this day in August, the town prepares thousands of octopus platters for the throngs of visitors who come to this gastronomic festival.
Fiestas in honour of the Patron Saint, San Lourenzo, FOZ (Lugo), August 10th (the most important day). Foz is one of the municipalities that attract the largest number of tourists of the coast of Lugo (A Mariña). The fiestas in honour of the patron saint last nearly a week, during which time the streets of this sea-faring town are filled many activities, from fairs to fulfilled cultural events.
Fiestas in honour of the patron saint, San Roque, BETANZOS (A Coruña), roughly from August 14th to 25th. The most noteworthy event is the famous Xira dos caneiros, where a swarm of boats, decked out for the occasion, convene to navigate up the Mandeo river.
Fiestas in honour of the patron saint, San Roque, SADA (A Coruña), August 16th. There are festivities in honour of the saint as well as a sardine roasting festival on the beach that attracts throngs of people. Sada is one of the major tourist centres of the Rías Altas.
Romería of O Naseiro, VIVEIRO (Lugo), late August. Also known as the Romería do bo xantar (“The festival of Good Eating”). This event is held on the banks of the Landro river. A gastronomic and music festival where thousands of visitors convene (over 30,000 attended in 1997). The festival is in honour of Nosa Señora dos Remedios. In the late afternoon, boats gather to sail down the Landro River.
Festa da Istoria in RIBADAVIA (Ourense), the last Saturday in August. On this day the medieval history of this town is re-enacted, with the recreation of life as it was over five centuries ago, with period costumes and a variety of performances. In the old Jewish quarter the activities include a ball, a medieval market, a dinner and theatre from this time period.
Romería de Nosa Señora da Barca, MUXÍA (A Coruña), On the first Sunday after September 8th. According to popular tradition, this festival commemorates the apparition of the Virgin Mary to St. James, the Apostle while he was preaching in Galicia. The Baroque sanctuary is located in a magnificent setting looking out on to the sea. It is surrounded by a number of stones which are full of legends and are said to have mysterious healing powers, arousing the interest of thousands of pilgrims who travel to the spot.
Shellfish Festival, O GROVE (Pontevedra), the 2nd Sunday in October and following days. This gastronomic festival has been held for over 30 years. An opportunity to taste the wide variety of shellfish from the Rías Baixas.
Fair of As San Lucas, MONDOÑEDO (Lugo), October 19th and following days. This fair has its roots in an old tradition dating back to the XIIIth century. Visitors hail from the north of Galicia and Asturias.
Saint John Fires, A CORUÑA. June 23rd night and June 24th early morning. The Herculean city bursts with popular imagination to celebrate the beginning of the summer on Saint John night. Purifying fires and grilled sardines on A Coruña beaches and quarters.
San Froilán, LUGO. A fiesta with deep popular roots lasting about a week, roughly around October 5th. This is the festival of the patron saint of Lugo.
Saint Roque Festivity, VILAGARCÍA DE AROUSA (Pontevedra). August 16th, and previous and following days. Festivities in Arousa capital town with numerous participants, where visitors and local area residents crowd the town streets.
The Xunta de Galicia has also declared the following Galician festivals to be of interest to tourists: The Cheese Festival of Arzúa, ARZÚA (A Coruña). An event that pays tribute to the typical cheeses of the region. Cheese tasting. First Sunday in March.
Exhibition of Camariñas Lace, CAMARIÑAS (A Coruña). Easter week, from Wednesday to Sunday, this town offers an exhibit of the lacework fashioned by the palilleiras of the area.
The Trout Festival, A PONTENOVA (Lugo). The 1st of May, an opportunity to try the trout from the Eo river and its tributaries.
The Tuna Festival, BURELA (Lugo). A celebration of the tuna caught using the traditional gears of the fleet from Burela. Held on the first Saturday in August.
Amandi Wine Festival, SOBER (Lugo). Wine tasting and sale of the famous wines from the Ribeira Sacra area. The Saturday before Palm Sunday and Palm Sunday.
Androlla and Entroido Festival, VIANA DO BOLO (Ourense). A gastronomic festival that falls on Mardi gras, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, offering the popular sausage dish made of seasoned pork ribs. Also, the Entroido, (Carnival festival) of Viana do Bolo is one of the most interesting in Galicia from an ethnographic and folkloric point of view.
Empanada Festival, BANDEIRA-SILLEDA (Pontevedra). Third Saturday in August. Sampling of the popular Galician meat and fish pie.
Cocido Festival, LALÍN (Pontevedra). Held on the Sunday before Mardi Gras. Sampling of the typical boiled dinner of the Deza region.
Romería de la Virgen de A Franqueira, A CAÑIZA (Pontevedra). This is one of the popular village festivals having the longest tradition in Galicia. September 8th is the date that a multitude of faithful followers make the pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of A Franqueira. There is a procession and the dance of the “Moors and the Christian”. Festival Commemorating the Arrival of the Caravel “Pinta”, BAIONA (Pontevedra). This festival commemorates the arrival of the Caravel Pinta to Spain, bringing news of the discovery of America. The vessel landed on the coast of Baiona. Held on March 1st.
Carnaval de Cobres, VILABOA (Pontevedra). An interesting Carnival festival of great cultural interest.
Buño Pottery Fair, BUÑO-MALPICA DE BERGANTIÑOS (A Coruña). Second fortnight of August. Local traditional pottery show, internationally renowned by the quality of its raw materials.
Jesus Nazarene-Shroud Festivity, A POBRA DO CARAMIÑAL (A Coruña). On the third Sunday of September, there is an original procession that coincides with the holiday of Jesus Nazarene, in which participants carry coffins as a sign of gratitude for the favours received. Kingdom of Galicia offering to the Blessed Sacrament, LUGO. The Sunday after Corpus Christi. Representatives from the seven provinces of the Old Kingdom of Galicia make an offering to the Blessed Sacrament in Lugo Cathedral.
Virgin of Guadalupe, RIANXO (A Coruña). September 8th. Religious festivity with popular “romerías” (gatherings at a local shrine), typical of Galician coastal towns.
Verín Carnival, VERÍN (Ourense). Carnival, variable festivity. In the month of February or March. It is one of the main traditional carnivals in Galicia. It begins on the Thursday before Carnival Saturday, which is called kinswomen´s Thursday, and goes on until Tuesday. Its typical characters are the “cigarróns”, who wear masks and cowbells, and take the town streets at that time of the year.
Laza Carnival, LAZA (Ourense). This town is near Verín, and is host to one of the best Carnivals in Galicia. This Carnival’s typical characters are the “peliqueiros”, who wear colourful craft masks, cowbells, and carry a long whip. They march in a characteristic way in “la Picota”, a square in the Ourense town. Another one of Laza Carnival’s characters is “la morena”, who chases people participating in the Carnival. Other rites of this festivity are the donkey testament, “farrapas” throwing, and ant releasing.
A Sainza “Romería”, RAIRIZ DE VEIGA (Ourense). Popular festivity that takes place in the month of September, and represents the meeting of Moors and Christians.
Festa da faba (Bean Festival), VILANOVA DE LOURENZÁ (Lugo). First Sunday in October. Exhibtion and sale of the famous Vilanova de Lourenzá beans. This fiesta is based on the fairs that were traditionally held for centuries in the town. Farmers and businessmen from around the district take part, together with the participation of large crowds from Galicia and Asturias.
Popular Queimada in Cervo, CERVO (Lugo). This festival has been held for 22 years on the Saturday following the 16th of August, coinciding with the Patron Saint's festival in this Lugo district. This fiesta enacts a town taken over by meigas (witches), while the inhabitants try to free themselves with invocations and spells, in which the queimada, liquor that is set alight in a clay or metal recipient, accompanied with sugar and drunk once the flame has burnt out - is always present.
Carnivals in Spain. February: Carnival Month