Popular festivities to suit everyone
Spain has an outstanding multicultural heritage, and this can be seen in all areas of its social life. There is a wide variety of different festive celebrations to be found all over the country.
Spanish popular festivities and traditions often have a clearly religious origin. This can be seen in throughout all the expressions of Spain's folklore, which combine religious fervour with a variety of pagan and festive commemorations. The country's cultural diversity means the festive manifestations of each region vary widely from north to south, and yet at the same time these local customs exist alongside festivities which are celebrated all over the national territory. The festive year in Spain starts with the traditional strokes of midnight in the Puerta del Sol square in Madrid, which attracts throngs of people from the city itself and from all over Spain who welcome in the New Year with a grape swallowed for each chime of the clock. One of the most important traditional celebrations in Spain, however, is Easter week. This takes place at the end of March or in April, and takes place amid vivid and extremely moving popular processions. The greatest number of festive events takes place in the summer months, between June and September, according to the geographic area, as they tend to combine both religious and socio-economic aspects. Throughout most of Spain's geography there are also a range of different festivities in late summer (late August and early September) owing to the historic tradition of commemorating the harvest (and particularly the grape harvest). What's more, each area in the country has its own specific festivities. Some of the highlights are the Sanfermines bull-running festival in Pamplona, Sant Jordi and La Mercé in Barcelona, the Fallas bonfire festival in Valencia, the festivity of the Reconquest in Granada, the April Fair in Seville and San Isidro and the Verbena de La Paloma in Madrid. But these are just a few examples of the thousands of festive celebrations which are to be found the length and breadth of Spain all year round. When are the national public holidays in Spain? Certain dates are designated public holidays in Spain, and these may be national, regional or local. The following are the national public holidays for 2016: • 1 January: New Year's Day. • 6 January: Epiphany. • 24 March: Maundy Thursday (throughout Spain, except in Catalonia). • 25 March: Good Friday. • 2 May: May Day (in Andalusia, Aragon, Asturias, Canary Islands, Castile and León, Extremadura and Madrid) • 15 August: the Assumption. • 12 October: Spain's National Day. • 1 November: All Saints' Day. • 6 December: Spanish Constitution Day. • 8 December: Festivity of the Immaculate Conception. • 26 December: day after Christmas Day (except in Canary Islands, Galicia, the Basque Country and La Rioja)