Fiestas in Spain
Every day somewhere in Spain a fiesta is being held. Each village has its own patron Saint - and therefore a fiesta, some larger towns have patron Saints for streets as well - so that street has a fiesta. Each day has its own patron Saint - and therefore a fiesta, its just that each village/town chooses its own saint to patronize!
Spain would not be Spain without its parties, some are more raucous than others and some should be attended with extreme caution.
Here is a detailed list of some of fiestas held on the Costa Blanca. The dates vary greatly for each town, so you need to telephone the local town hall (ayuntamiento) to find out the dates for the coming year. See our section on Useful Telephone Numbers.
Cabalgata de Reyes - Three Kings Procession
Throughout Spain the week of Easter (Semana Santa) is celebrated with somber religious processions, usually entailing an effigy of Jesus on the Cross being carried through the streets followed by mourners wearing black and carrying candles. Spaniards of all ages take part and one cannot help being struck by the sense of community and dedication to tradition that the celebrations reflect.
MARCH 16th - 19th
LAS FALLAS - The traditional Valencian festival of Saint Joseph the carpenter. Originally a contest amongst carpenters to create an effigy of the Saint, it has escalated to become one of the most spectacular fiestas of the calendar year, with municipal districts competing for the prize for the best papier mache monument. Each year the monuments get bigger and better with more and more money invested in creating incredible 50-100ft high Disney-type cartoon depictions of both current event and political characters together with fictional figures. Hundreds of thousands of Euros are spent each year in building these monuments which are all burnt in the final ceremonial act of the celebrations. Festivities include, processions with participants wearing elaborate traditional costumes, street entertainment, fireworks and live music. The largest fiesta of this kind is held in the city of Valencia, where up to 300 massive monuments block the busy streets of the capital and commercial life comes to a halt. Here a 150ft high statue of the Virgin Mary is built out of flowers brought by participants of a day long procession through the city streets. This is a fiesta you will never forget.
Fira i Porrat de Sant Antoni - Festival and Fair of Saint Anthony - Attractions include a Mediaeval Market with stalls, birds of prey and street jesters; the blessing of animals, livestock fair, sometimes accompanied by a traveling fairground and a great variety of sporting and cultural events.
Fiesta Patronales - Festival of the Patron of the town. - Each town has its Patron Saint and a fiesta is held in their honour which usually last one week. During this time the towns commercial activity virtually shuts down as celebrations go on practically 24 hours a day. Festivities include processions, dancing in the streets, live music, sporting events, firework displays and a giant paella cooked in the village square. Included in it's celebrations is the Coronation of the Festival Queen.
The famous bull running event is held in many towns at different times of the year all over Spain. Large, generally aggressive bulls are let loose in designated streets to chase after those who think they are fast enough to jump out of their way, run behind the many wooden barricades or into the steel cages set up for their protection, before they get gored. Not for the faint hearted, and definitely best left to those with more experience as it is not as easy as it looks. The bulls are very fast and many people - usually foreigners - get hurt, and occasionally killed each year due to them tripping and falling before they manage to get to safety. These bulls have large horns, and will attack through fear. Hundreds of people attend the events, sitting upon makeshift platforms above the streets or standing within the steel cages. It can become rather noisy with everyone shouting and jeering at the bulls who naturally feel trapped and we all know how a cornered wild animal reacts to this kind of situation.
Moors and Christians Fiesta - This festival is celebrated all over Spain as their history is deeply rooted in the battles which took place over control of Spain in the 13th to 15th century. Each fiesta is a theatrical performance with participants dressed in elaborate and expensive costumes depicting both sides of the battle. The music played by the live orchestras is especially composed for the fiesta and is very dramatic. Battles are re-enacted using replicas of the weapons used so it can become a little noisy.
How better to end the year than at a traditional Spanish New Years Eve party (Fiesta Cotillon) in front of the clock in the square. In the larger towns, free champagne and live music provide the entertainment. Don't forget your 12 grapes which are eaten one by one on the strokes of midnight giving you luck in the year to come.