Spanish fiestas 2014
Have you got any plans in Easter Week? Here, we propose some festivals you can enjoy in Spain.
St George Festival, Barcelona. 23rd April
Roses, books and lovers: Barcelona is full of them on 23 April. In Catalonia the World Book Day becomes an especially romantic festivity. The people in Catalonia celebrate the day of their patron saint, Sant Jordi, with a curious tradition That day, on 23 April, according to tradition couples exchange gifts: a book for the men and a rose for the women. Book and flower stalls are set up along the streets of Barcelona. They fill will people walking around stalls, looking for a gift for their beloved, and for their family and friends, too. You will be able to find the latest publications, see well-known artists signing copies of their books, and of course, smell the scent of the roses.
Santísima Vera Cruz Festivities. Caravaca de la Cruz (Murcia). 1st - 5st May
This fiesta has been celebrated since the Middle Ages and is a mixture of culture, history and legend, where all the locals get involved. It has two main spectacles: the Wine Horses, and the Moors and Christians celebrations. The latter represent the battles that took place between the two sides way back in history. On the first day, floral offerings are made at the Castle-Sanctuary. The following day starts with a reveille to the sound of bells and plenty of gunpowder. It continues with the spectacular processions that run through the town: the Moors and Christians, and the Wine Horses, the animals richly saddled, which finishes with a race up the hill to the Castle. On 3rd May the Baño de la Cruz is celebrated in the Baroque shrine, commemorating the miracle that occurred in 1384, when these blessed waters brought an end to a plague of locusts. Parades, processions and a range of firework displays complete the programme for the fiestas.
Moors and Christians Festivities (Alcoy, Alicante). 02nd - 05th May
The festival of Moors and Christians is the biggest event of the year in Alcoy. It is dedicated to Saint George, a figure steeped in age-old tradition. The festival dates back to the 16th century and commemorates a battle which was fought in 1276. On the first day, there is a spectacular procession of Moors and Christians: the different groups that make up each army march majestically through the streets of Alcoy dressed in luxurious costumes. Around 5000 people take part in this highly popular event. On the second day, many different events are held in honour of St. George. On the final day, a huge battle is fought in España Square in a specially-built castle which represents the city.
April Fair - Feria de Abril (Seville). 06th - 11th May
Seville's April Fair follows close on the heels of Holy Week. A festive mood takes over Andalusia's capital city as the locals dress up in traditional attire to celebrate their famous festival. The fair is not exclusive to Seville, as summer in particular sees similar celebrations held throughout the region in locations such as Malaga, Cordoba, Almeria, Fuengirola, Huelva, etc. Other festivities such as Corpus Christi, the May Crosses (particularly in Granada) and the Romerías or pilgrimages draw thousands of people year after year. Two pilgrimages worthy of special mention are El Rocio, which boasts a million participants, and La Virgen de la Cabeza in Andujar. The fiesta officially begins at midnight on Monday with the "lighting test", the illumination of the thousands of multi-coloured light bulbs in the fairground and adorning the main gateway, which is almost 50 metres high and has a different motif every year. The lively and festive atmosphere spills over into the area outside the tents: people usually dance in the street, and the friendly personality of the Sevillian people will entice passers-by into the celebration. You should bear in mind that most of the stalls are privately owned and can be entered only by invitation from the members or their friends. There are however public tents which are open to all. The information office at the entrance to the fair will tell you which they are.
Patios Festival & Competition (Córdoba). 5th - 18th May
"Pilgrimage and competitions whose main protagonist is beautiful Cordoba". It has been held since 1918. It comprises the Virgen Conquistadora pilgrimage to Linares Sanctuary, with riders and richly adorned carriages on a route through the mountains; a competition of May crosses and another of decorated patios, window grilles and balconies, covering the most typical parts of the city in flowers. There is also plenty of folklore, with the best regional flamenco artists.
Horse Fair - Feria del Caballo (Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz). 11th - 18th May
The Jerez Horse Fair consists of joy, fun and purebred animals. The nobility of the horses you can see during the event has made it internationally famous. Of ancient origins (1284), it was originally a livestock market. Over the years it evolved into today's conglomerate of festivities. Among the different events, mention should be made of the equestrian contests and competitions, and of the marquees set up in González de Hontoria park, adorning its avenues and paths with flowers and garlands over the course of the fair. There are all kinds of horse-related activities during this festive week, such as international show-jumping competitions, dressage, horse rally, select livestock exhibitions and auctions. Furthermore, during the day, González de Hontoria park fills with hundreds of male and female riders, and carriages that drive through the streets of the show ground in a majestic spectacle well worth seeing. There are also food and drinks stands and children's attractions. Bullfights, Sevillana dance competitions and fireworks are other festive activities that complete the programme of the Fair.