Spain’s top festivals (and in which Spanish city to celebrate them)

Fiesta Spain- image by diwyy.comSpain is a country famous for its fiestas and ferias! Most are usually based on religion, like the Semana Santa celebrations, and some on tradition, such as La Tomatina. Some are famous worldwide, such as the San Fermin festival (during which the Running of the Bulls takes place) and some are simply crazy, like the goat-throwing festival of Zamora, where a live goat is hurled from the church tower and caught by the crowd beneath (it was banned in 2002). Additionally, each town has its own feria once a year- a time to eat, drink, meet new people and celebrate the Spanish culture.

Knowing what festivals are taking place at what time can help you to choose when to study in Spain or in which city specifically. This is especially true if you are only planning to come for a few weeks- it may be a good idea to time your visit with a major festival if possible, just to make your trip that much more special. There is always something taking place each month; here is UniSpain’s selection of some of the best festivals that Spain has to offer.

Spring

Carnival: February

Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Widely considered as being second only to that of Rio de Janeiro, the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is attended by people from all over the world. There is a huge parade, dancing and of course the obligatory fancy dress.Carnival- image by www.pauley.co.uk

Las Fallas: March

Valencia

A week-long celebration, in which huge papier mache statues (that have usually taken the artists the whole year to create) are displayed. At the end of the festival, these are then burned in huge bonfires.

Semana Santa (Holy Week): Easter

Seville

Semana Santa is one of the most important festivals in the Spanish calendar. Seville, the Andalusian capital, has the biggest and best processions in the country, in which floats depict the events of the Passion.

Summer

San Isidro: May

Madrid

San Isidro is the patron saint of Madrid, and each year the capital celebrates with parties. Special ring-shaped pastries called rosquillas are eaten.

San Fermín (Running of the Bulls): July

PamplonaRunning of the bulls- image by blogs.sacbee.com

This is probably the most famous Spanish festival worldwide. A firework called the chupinazo marks the beginning of the week-long festival, and each morning bulls are let loose in the streets and led down to the bullring, the masses running in front of them.

La Tomatina: August.

Bunyol, Valencia.

This festival consists of a huge tomato fight, using overripe tomatoes. First, a greased pole with a ham balanced on top is constructed. The crowd gathers as people attempt to climb the pole and knock the ham down. Once this is achieved, the fight begins, lasting an hour. An estimated 150,000 tomatoes are thrown!

Autumn

Dia de la Hispanidad: October

MadridDia de la Hispanidad- image by hispanicosnebrija.com

This day, also celebrated in America (as Columbus Day) and throughout various Latin American countries, commemorates the day Columbus arrived in the Americas. There is a military parade in the Plaza de Colon in Madrid and the colours of the Spanish flag are flown.

Winter

Dia de los Reyes Magos: January 6th

Nationwide

This is the day that presents are exchanged in Spain, and big processions are held in the major cities- sweets are thrown from the floats and children run below to catch them.

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