Everywhere in Spain, from the tiniest hamlet to the great cities, each one devotes at least a couple of days a year to their own particular fiesta, festival or carnival. Spanish festivals and fiestas are about honouring the local saint, celebrating a new harvest, the deliverance from the Moors, or of a safe return from the sea – any excuse will do.
Festivals in Spain come in all shapes and sizes, here are 5 of the most crazy and colourful ones.
Running with the Bulls in Pamplona
Each year during the San Fermin fiestas thousands or visitors flock to Pamplona to participate in the running with the bulls. 12 tons of brave bulls ( Toros Bravos ) are let free at 8 am each morning to run around a prepared rout within the ancient city of Pamplona. The bulls will chase and hound the runners ( Mozos ) until they all reach the bullring. This adrenaline fuelled spectacle is one of the highlights of the annual festival calendar in Spain which attracts people from all over the globe eager to take part.
La Tomatina – Spain’s biggest food fight!
La Tomatina is a unique festival in Spain and one of the biggest food fights in the world. The fiesta is held in the town of Buñol ( pronounced Bunyol ) in Valencia on the last Wednesday of August each year and involves over 100 tons of ripe tomatoes thrown around by thousands of willing participants
The event starts at around 11 in the morning when a ham is placed upon a large greased pole, participants then battle to try to get to the top and grab the prized ham joint, once achieved the party can be begin.
Participants then proceed to throw tons of ripe tomatoes at each for one hour in controlled areas in the center of town. This once in a lifetime experience should not be missed by any respectable fun loving party goer!
The population of the small town of Buñol rises from around 9.000 to well over 30,000 during the week long festivities.With so many willing participants the local council have limited the number of participants wishing to take part in the main tomato fight so you will need a La Tomatina entrance ticket if you plan to attend.
The Tenerife carnivals are amongst the most colourful and energetic in Spain and held during the month of February on the Canary Islands. The main street parades are held in Santa Cruz de Tenerife located on the north of the Island.
The Tenerife carnivals resemble those held in Brazil and feature noisy parades, colourful floats and costumes and street bands performing all types of carnival flavoured music as they parade through the cobbled Canarian streets.The colourful costumes can weigh over a 100 kilos which can take almost all year to make.
Although there is plenty of accommodation in Tenerife to choose, carnival week gets extremely busy so if you want to stay reasonably close to Santa Cruz it is best to book your hotel in Tenerife well in advance as the budget options are quickly taken.
Las Fallas de Valencia – Spain’s bonfire night
In the middle of March each year Valencia is home to Las Fallas, one of the biggest festivals in Spain. For four days huge papier-mache figures are paraded through the streets and put on show in the city centre. This is accompanied by musical performances, fireworks and bonfires. This unique fire themed festival ends with an impressive bonfire that sets alight the amazing hand crafted paper-achier figures and which burns throughout the night.
Semana Santa – Easter holy week
Easter holy week is an important religious festival in Spain,there is a spring party atmosphere many towns and cities offering parades and processions which are quite spectacular to watch. Catholics mourn the final days of Christ on Earth and at the same time sympathise with the grief of the Virgin Mary.
Semana Santa is held on the week leading to Easter Sunday. Throughout the entire week, processions are celebrations are held daily. The main event is held on good Friday whereby the floats leave the churches in the middle of the night and they are carried throughout the night to their final destination: the cathedral.
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