Spain Top 10 Celebrations & Holidays

Spain Top 10 Celebrations & Holidays in Spain

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Last updated:
10.03.2021

Spain’s culture was shaped by its long history and diversity of nations. Today a colorful, passionate, temperamental country celebrates festivals and holidays all-year-round, from the famous La Tomatina to the New Year.

Due to Spain’s deep religious roots, many celebrations are held to commemorate religious figures in Spanish culture. Many others are held to mark particular occasions related to vibrant culture. Also, many of the festivals coincide with Spanish public holidays.

Mark your travel map with the top 10 Spain fiestas and holidays spotted throughout the all broad country! We promise it will make your small group or a private tour to Spain even more remarkable.

The Holy Week or La Semana Santa

You may have heard about La Semana Santa or The Holy Week, but have you ever seen it celebrated in Spain? It is one of the most famous religious festivals in Spain celebrated in most parts of the country. While many countries celebrate Easter only one or two days, Spain takes all the week, and it begins the week before Easter day.

Each of the Spanish cities features unique, various performances during the week. However, mostly there are massive floats paraded in a town with religious figures such as Jesus and the Virgin Maria. The traditional costumes, gloomy music played by live bands make the holiday even more exceptional. Necessary to mention, these religious processions have been taking place in Spain for centuries, meaning the Holy Week has profound traditions.

The Holy Week

  • Date: 28th of March - 4th of April, 2021
  • Location: Most of the cities in Spain: Sevilla, Malaga, Valencia

The Running of the Bulls or San Fermin

A bull is a traditional Spanish symbol playing an essential role in numerous entertainments of the country. The running of the bulls or Pamplona bull run is one of those celebrations. Actually, the bull run is only a part of the extensive festival called San Fermin, taking place in Pamplona town for a week in July. The first known San Fermin celebration was in 1591, and until these days, the festival boasts lots of old traditions.

During all the week of San Fermin, every day at 8 in the morning, brave souls gather in the Pamplona streets to run through the city accompanied by seven angry bulls! The goal of this game is to touch as many bulls as possible. If you enjoy thrilling adventures, make sure to add this bullfighting festival to your bucket list!

San Fermin

  • Date: 7th - 14th of July, 2021
  • Location: Pamplona

The Festival of Fire or Las Fallas de Valencia

No list of Spain celebrations can be completed without mentioning the Fallas in it! It’s among the leading parties in Spain that takes place for five days in the third largest Spanish city, Valencia. The lively fiesta is made in commemoration of Saint Joseph and has both Catholic and pagans traditions. An interesting fact, the Fallas has been on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage list since 2016.

High-tech giant-size paper puppets shaped into modern figures such as Trump, Shrek, and many others are spotted throughout Valencia. Usually, a few hundreds of monuments burst with satire, humor, music, and fireworks. At the end of the festival, locals light the giant paper sculptures in many bonfires. Are you wondering why they burn the statues in Las Fallas? This tradition has pagan roots. Burning those creative monuments marks the arrival of spring and celebration of renewal, rebirth, and creativity.

Attractive ninots (dolls), shows, music, and fireworks make every visitor feel like in a fairytale! Undoubtedly, Las Fallas de Valencia is perfect for Spain family holidays; there is something fun for a big and little!

Fallas of Valencia

  • Date: 15th-19th of March, 2021
  • Location: Valencia

The Fair of Seville or La Feria de Sevilla

The Fair of Seville is an iconic celebration, the annual April fair. The beautiful Andalusia Region boasts the oldest deep traditions in Spain. And the fair in Seville perfectly highlights Spain’s customs with its festive food, flamenco dances, and traditional music.

Started in the 19th century, it takes place for a week and contains a worthwhile movie scenario. Numerous locals and foreigners dress up in traditional costumes: colorful dresses or tight trousers and boleros. They ride on various breed horses, indulge in Andalusian cuisine, and non-stop dance flamenco! It’s the must-participate joyful party in Spain for Spanish culture enthusiasts.

The Fair of Seville

  • Date: 18th-24th of April, 2021
  • Location: Seville

The Horse Fair or La Feria Del Caballo

One of the significant holidays in May is the Horse Fair. Taking place in the spectacular Andalusian town of Jerez, the fiesta boasts traditional Spanish entertainment and is among the most joyous celebrations in Spain. It is usually held in the first or second week of May, and the principal attraction is the spectacular show of the finest Andalusian horses.

If participants are eager to observe the best of the Horse Fair, then to dress up like locals in the traditional outfits is a must and relish the tradition to the fullest! The artistic horse parade is accompanied by music, Andalusian food stalls, and passionate flamenco performances. Boldly join traditional flamenco dances yourself!

The Horse Fair

  • Date: 1st-8th of May, 2021
  • Location: Jerez, Andalusia

The Tomato Fight or La Tomatina

Have you ever participated in a food fight? Maybe yes, but most likely not as large as in the legendary Tomato Fight in Buñol town, near Valencia. It is one of the most famous food fight festivals in Europe, when thousands of people gather in August to fight with each other, throwing tomatoes. Is it messy? Yes, it is. Is it a fun experience? Undoubtedly, it is!

The Tomato festival began in 1945 by accident during a parade in People’s Square when the crowd became angry and started throwing tomatoes that they found nearby. It looked fun, and since then, the tradition is held annually. Those who crave to participate in La Tomatina must purchase a ticket.

The Tomato Fight

  • Date: 25th of August, 2021
  • Location: Buñol

The August Fair in Malaga or La Feria de Málaga

One of the most festive celebrations in August is the Fair in Malaga. It commemorates the reconquest of the city in 1487. During one week, thousands of tourists and locals come to experience numerous fun activities, which are ideal for Spanish holidays.

Visitors can relish fiesta during the day and night! There are carousels, Spanish and international music band performances, fireworks, and traditional food stalls spotted throughout Malaga. What's more, like most Andalusian celebrations, the Fair in Malaga features classic bullfights as part of the Bullfighting Fair. Lots of people meet in La Plaza de Toros in the Malagueta district to see symbolic shows. If you are in Spain around this time, make sure to plan your itinerary to visit Malaga's Fair.

The August Fair

  • Date: 14th-21st of August, 2021
  • Location: Malaga

The Cordoba Patios Festival or Los Patios de Córdoba

The Cordoba Patios Festival is best-known for its beauty and customs. The fiesta and contest occur in the first week of May annually, when the magnificent courtyards are open to the public. So everyone could have a chance to admire the colorful patios typical of Cordoba. This charming tradition began in 1918 and is authentic all over the world. Many house owners in the city open their doors and join the contest of the most striking patio.

Indeed, Cordoba's patios are the most appealing across Spain: full of colorful blooming flowers on the walls, trees, fountains, and accessories. Additionally, since 2012, Cordoba patios have been a part of the UNESCO cultural heritage. This valued beauty every visitor can cherish during the Cordoba courtyard celebration!

The Cordoba Patios Festival

  • Date: 2nd-15th of May, 2022
  • Location: Cordoba

The Carnival of Cadiz or El Carnaval de Cadiz

As you can imagine, in the country where celebrations take pride of place, fiestas can be rather magnificent. If you crave to see how Spain celebrates, then unquestionably immerse yourself in one of the famous carnival celebrations in Spain. There is quite a long list of variously attractive fiestas spotted throughout the country; all of them are differently authentic with artistic costumes, music, giant parade floats, and fairytale-like performances.

Remarkably, among the biggest and famous ones is Cadiz Carnival. Eleven days of non-stop-fun filled with food, crazy ornate costumes, an extensive parade, and plenty of diverse music. Traditionally, to mark the beginning of Lent, the Cadiz party is famous all over the world. One more interesting fact is that the Cadiz fiesta's parade takes place in world-famous Brazil's Rio De Janeiro Carnival!

The Carnival of Cadiz

  • Date: 11th-21st of February, 2021
  • Location: Cadiz

Christmas & New Year or La Navidad y La Nochevieja

To feel Christmas time and New Year in Europe is a must! All the continent boasts fabulous festive markets filled with hot drinks, tasty winter snacks, and fun winter activities. While many European countries have low temperatures outside, Spain in winter still offers a pleasant Mediterranean climate. Moreover, Spanish people adore this festive holiday time! All cities from Barcelona to Granada are decorated with colorful lights, Christmas trees, markets, plus, shops offer cute gifts, souvenirs, and play Christmas carols. To experience how locals celebrate the holiday, it is a must-try winter Spanish sweets-dulces, such as nougat candy called turron or lard cookies named mantecados.

All Spanish families celebrate the joyful atmosphere which leads to the New Year. Locals meet New year with impressive fireworks and the tradition of eating twelve grapes simultaneously with bell chimes twelve seconds before midnight. Spanish people believe that it brings you luck for the following year. Try the grape eating challenge by yourself, easier to say than do!

Christmas & New Year

  • Date: Christmas and New Year period
  • Location: Madrid, Bilbao, Barcelona, Granada, and many others

There is no doubt that Spanish people love to celebrate! Spain is filled with diverse cultures and offers attractive celebrations all year round. If you are planning a trip to Spain and eager to discover more cities, easily get around by the high-speed trains in Spain.

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