Spain is the land of fiestas.Festivals in Spain are held in every single city, town and village, there is always a festival of some kind which gets all the townsfolk out on the streets partying. The biggest festivals of international fame are the bullrunning of Pamplona, the fireworks of Las Fallas in Valencia, the mock battles of Moros y Cristianos in Alcoy, Semana Santa in all of Andalucia and the massive Feria de Abril in Seville. Most festivals in Spain are religious in origin, but nowadays the religious component is usually secondary to the general spirit of celebration.
Every year on 20 January (the feast of Saint Sebastian), the people of the city of San Sebastián, (Spain) celebrate a festival known as the “Tamborrada”. At midnight, in the Konstituzio Plaza in the “Alde Zaharra/Parte Vieja” (Old Part), the mayor raises the flag of San Sebastián. For 24 hours, day and night, the entire city is awash with the sound of drums. The adults, dressed as cooks and soldiers, march in different companies across various parts of the city with different schedules. The celebration finishes at midnight when the city flag is lowered at different spots, while the main meeting point remains the Konstituzio Plaza.
Carnival depends on the lunar calendar. So it is a movable festival, celebrated seven weeks after the first full moon following the winter solstice.
Official website: http://lameva.barcelona.cat/culturapopular/ca/festes-i-tradicions/carnaval-de-barcelona
Feria de Jerez, also known as Feria del Caballo (Horse Fair) is one of the most important celebrations in the Spanish municipality Jerez de la Frontera, only comparable to Easter religious celebrations. It is the most important fair in Cádiz.
Official website: www.jerez.es
Official website: www.madrid.org/lanochedelosteatros/
Festimad is an alternative rock festival and cultural event held yearly in Madrid, Spain since 1994, usually in the last week of May. Festimad includes several parallel cultural festivals such as Performa, Graffiti, Universimad o Cinemad, although its central event continues to be the music festival, standing alongside the Festival Internacional de Benicàssim as Spain’s main rock concert.
Official website: www.festimad.es
Festival Internacional de Benicàssim, abbreviated to simply FIB, is an annual music festival which takes place in the town of Benicàssim, in the Valencian Community (Spain). It focuses mainly on pop, rock and electronica artists, as well as having other elements including short films, fashion shows and art. Benicassim has a reputation as being among the best on the international festival circuit.
The festival begins on the second Tuesday of July when the camping grounds open, although music only officially commences during Thursday afternoon. FIB is notable for having bands playing through the night (5–pm – 8–am) and has three main stages, Las Palmas, Visa and South Beach Dance having a capacity of approximately 30,000, 15,000 and 8,000 people respectively.
Official website: www.fiberfib.com
Bilbao BBK Live is a rock and pop music festival that takes place annually in the city of Bilbao, Spain. Since its beginnings, the festival is held in its entirety on a special complex built specifically for the event on the slopes of mount Cobetas, located southwest from the city.
Official website: www.bilbaobbklive.com
Resurrection Fest is a rock music festival that takes place in Viveiro, region of Lugo, Spain. This festival is held annually since 2006 during July or early August, and features mainly heavy metal, hardcore punk and punk rock bands.
Official website: www.resurrectionfest.es
The Spanish Grand Prix, Gran Premio de España, is a Formula One race currently held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Barcelona. The race is one of the oldest in the world still contested, it celebrated its centenary in 2013.
Official website: www.circuitcat.com/es
Official website: www.veranosdelavilla.com
The Patum de Berga, or simply La Patum, is a popular and traditional festival that is celebrated each year in the Catalan city of Berga during Corpus Christi. It consists of a series of “dances” (balls) by townspeople dressed as mystical and symbolical figures, and accompanied either by the rhythm of a drum—the tabal, whose sound gives the festival its name—or band music. The balls are marked by their solemnity and their ample use of fire and pyrotechnics.
The festival of San Fermin, or the Pamplona bull running as it’s more commonly known outside Spain officially begins at midday on 6th July every year with the ‘chupinazo’ which takes place on the balcony of the Casa Consistorial in Pamplona.
The Running of the Bull is a practice that involves running in front of a small group (typically a dozen) of bulls that have been let loose, on a course of a sectioned-off subset of a town’s streets. The most famous running of the bulls is that of the seven-day festival of Sanfermines in honour of San Fermín in Pamplona, although they are held in towns and villages across Spain,Portugal, and in some cities in Mexico,Mesquite, Nevada, and southern France, during the summer. Unlike bullfights, which are performed by professionals, anyone may participate in an encierro. The purpose of this event is the transport of the bulls from the off-site corrals where they had spent the night, to the bullring where they would be killed in the evening. Youngsters would jump among them to show off their bravado. Spanish lore says the true origin began in North-eastern Spain during the early 14th century. While transporting cattle in order to sell at the market, men would attempt to speed the process by hurrying their cattle using tactics of fear and excitement. After years of this practice, the transportation and hurrying began to turn into a competition, as young adults would attempt to race in front of the bulls and make it safely to their pens without being overtaken. When the popularity of this practice increased and was noticed more and more by the expanding population of Spanish cities, a tradition was created and stands to this day
Official Website: http://lameva.barcelona.cat/merce/ca
The Vuelta a España, English: Tour of Spain, is an annual multi-stage bicycle race primarily held in Spain, while also occasionally making passes through nearby countries. Inspired by the success of the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, the race was first organized in 1935
Official website: www.lavuelta.com
The Christmas market in Madrid starts on 28th November with an official opening on 5th December in the Plaza Mayor. The market is open from 10 am until 9 pm every day right through until early January. The atmosphere of Christmas is highlighted by the twinkling lights and the wonderful nativity scenes in all of the museums and churches, with the most extravagant being the 18th century Neapolitan display in the Royal Palace. Madrid’s Christmas market has been going since 1860 and many of the stall holders still sell the traditional Belén nativity figures alongside fancy dress costumes, joke items and tinsel wigs ready for Fools’ Day on 28 December.
Barcelona’s Santa Lucia Christmas market begins on December 13th until Christmas Eve in the Plaza de la Catedral and spreads onto the Placa Nova. There are some impressive nativity scenes dotted around the square and stallholders sell hand carved nativity figures. Another item often seen in Barcelona’s Christmas market are the piñatas in the shape of yuletide logs filled with goodies like sweets and small presents. The city is decorated with lights and ornaments at this time.
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