The Spanish culture is perhaps one of the most vibrant, vivid and rich cultures of the world: Spanish culture is famous all over the world for its colourful and entertaining fiestas which are full of joy and celebrations.
The people of Spain are full of life, they love to enjoy and are popular for living life at its fullest, and their festivals are a reflection of this. As it is said “no one knows how to party more than a Spaniard” and it can so be proved by visiting Spain during a festive season.
In fact, there is no season of festival in Spain, every day throughout the year somewhere in Spain a festival is taking place and every one is partying and enjoying themselves. Some are small and on local regional level and some are big and are celebrated nationwide.
The Spanish fiestas are unique and each has a history or story behind it. Most of the festivals are religious while others are based on their culture. Spain was occupied by Muslims for nearly 600 years, and that also reflects on many of their festivals.
Some famous Spanish festivals include:
The San Fermin Festival
The San Fermin festival is one of the most famous of Spain and is the signature of Spanish culture. Yes, this is none other than the famous bull fighting of Spain.
This festival is popular all over the world and thousands of people from around the planet come to witness this dangerous battle between man and a giant bull in the large metropolitan cities of the country. The fight is followed by a large feast made of the bull’s meat.
The festival lasts for a week starting from the 7th July and ending at 14th. The festival started in 1591 and since then is celebrated every year.
In smaller cities and towns, the bull fight is replaced by the Bull Run, in which the participants run with the bulls of the streets. The bull run of Pamplona is very popular.
Although many participants are severely injured and some even die, the Spaniards still celebrate the function every yearin some parts, but today many towns are banning the bullfight on humanitarian grounds, and it is widely believed that before long it may be no more than a part of history.
Fallas de San Jose (pictured)
The Fallas fiesta is the most colourful and without a doubt, the hottest Spanish festival. The festival is celebrated in Valencia on March 19th every year and is celebrated in honour of San José, or St Joseph.
Although the festival was originally a pagan ritual, it converted into a Christian festival over a period of time.
The festival lasts for five days, during which the entire city gets on the streets to dance, party, and celebrate. The ritual involves the burning of statues and the entire city is ablaze, hence the name Fallas which means fire.
It is said to be the most spectacular festival of Europe and is a festival one must witness at least once in his lifetime.
Other cities of Spain also celebrate the festival, but they are nowhere near the extent of celebration in Valencia. The festival is attended by a lot of tourists and is a massive celebration.
La Tomatina fiesta is the maddest festival of Spain: It is a tomato fight in which people hit each other with loads of tomatoes and this happens during the entire day. Of course no Spanish celebration is possible without dance and music, hence the festival also includes a lot of partying. The festival is held every year in the village of Buñol, which is 30 miles east of the city of Valencia.
Trucks and trucks filled with tomatoes are emptied during the fight and people go crazy while playing. The festival is very entertaining and a lot of fun.
Sonar Fiesta of Barcelona
The Sonar fiesta is a very popular Spanish festival. It takes place every year at the end of August soon after the Barcelona Summer festival has ended. This festival is basically a music and art event, followed by of course a party. Large crowds from all over the world attend this wonderful event every year.
Feast of Saint James
The feast of Saint James is celebrated every year on the 25th of July The festival is a religious ritual where every year thousands of pilgrims travel to the Camino de Santiago, to the Saint’s tomb and worship there.