Spain’s one of the most popular holiday destinations for UK tourists. The beautiful weather, sandy beaches and good food make this a brilliant place to visit all year round. Don’t think that this is the only reason that you should visit this country. There are some fantastic festivals to take part in as well. Let’s take a look at a few.
The Spanish know how to celebrate life. In most cities, towns and villages across the country, throughout the year, you can find some sort of festival that gets people together and enjoying themselves. Unsurprisingly, many of these are religious, full of the colourful pomp and ceremony that herald a saint’s day or other holy time.
Some of these gatherings are believed to have arisen out of medieval traditions, such as the Jarramplas Festival in Piornal where locals throw masses of turnips at a person dressed in a horned devil costume! This is thought to have its origins in the punishment of cattle thieves but there is also supposed to be a connection to the expulsion of evil influences.
It seems that there can be almost any reason for a festival in Spain and the Flexicover Team looks at some wonderfully interesting Spanish festivals that may be an excellent addition to your holiday plans this year!
Fiesta de San Fermin; Pamplona (July)
This is the most famous festival in Spain, attracting thrill-seeking tourists and travellers from all over the globe. This is the one that features the legendary ‘Running of the Bulls’. White-shirted men wear red bandanas and line the narrow cobbled streets, running for their lives in front of enormous rampaging bulls that are let loose behind them. Those with fainter hearts enjoy the view of the run from safe heights and partake in the partying that follows. Whether you’re intrepid enough to join the runners or simply content yourself with taking photos, the Pamplona Bull Run is one festival you shouldn’t miss!
La Tomatina; Buñol (August)
Another popular festival that tends to attract media attention is the tomato-flinging party in this south-western Spanish town. Truckloads of overripe tomatoes (around 40 metric tons) drive through the streets with revellers attacking everyone on the streets with the pulpy red fruits. The ‘tradition’ started in 1945 when a fight broke out after a local parade, the participants having pelted each other with vegetables from a market stall. Held on the last Wednesday of August, this is always great fun, so don’t forget to bring goggles and carry a change of clothes so you too can join in the fun. Get tickets early as only 20,000 lucky participants are allowed in!
Horror & Fantasy Film Festival; San Sebastian (October/November)
While not a traditional Spanish festival per se, the San Sebastian Annual Horror & Fantasy Film Festival makes it to our list because it promises to be great fun. With horror movies screened at the Teatro Principal, outdoor performances, street theatre, comedy events, horror-related exhibitions and fanzine festivities all on offer, it’s impossible not to have a good time. In a country with a strong tradition of filmmaking in these genres, the event hopes to showcase the highlights and bring them to a wider audience in a fun-filled way.
San Andrés Festival; Tenerife (November)
The festival is technically all about tasting the wine of the new growing year but it also provides a brilliant excuse to drink good local produce into the early hours of the morning. Wine cellars throw open their doors for the tasting of new wines (along with roasted chestnuts & pork) and there’s a definite party spirit in the air. What’s special, though, is that on the eve of the festival, the Arrastre los Cacharros sees local children tie noisy metal objects, including pots and pans, and drag them through the streets picking up teenagers with larger objects along the way. A whole lot of noise is then followed by a whole lot of drinking, and for once, no neighbours complaining!
Els Enfarinats; Ibi (December)
While the rest of Spain is busy celebrating Nadal (‘Christmas’), the locals in this toy-making town, in the province of Alicante, gear up for something strange and spectacular for this day-long festival. A group of ‘flour men’ (els enfarinats) dress up in mock military uniforms, make satirical speeches and ‘take control’ of the town and, in doing so, impose arbitrary laws and hand out ‘fines’ from their court in the main Church Square. Following this, they then indulge in a huge pitched battle with eggs, flour and firecrackers – all part of this 200 year-old festival that forms part of the celebrations around the Day of Innocents!
These are some great celebrations to head to if you want to make your trip to Spain a little more exciting. Remember to take a look at our Travel Insurance For Spain.