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Spain Events

Spain 2014 events

Villa de Mazo Corpus Christi

Date (To be confirmed):
June 2014

The day of Corpus Christi is celebrated throughout Spain with processions, ......

The day of Corpus Christi is celebrated throughout Spain with processions, often along streets decorated with flowers. In the little town of Villa de Mazo, they go one step further, making carpets, passages, halls, and, the signature of the town, archways, along the processional route. Flowers, shells, sand, petals, ears of corn, seeds, moss and all manner of natural materials are dried and used by ingenious craftsmen to decorate the streets and especially to create the impressive arches.

Address:
Main streets, squares and church in the town centre, Villa de Mazo, Spain

Event cost:
Free.

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Corpus Christi

Date (To be confirmed):
June 2014 (TBC.)

The Catholic tradition is strong in Spain, even in the fun-loving, hedonist ......

The Catholic tradition is strong in Spain, even in the fun-loving, hedonistic resort of Sitges. Corpus Christi is celebrated here, as in many other Spanish towns, with church services, religious processions and carpets of flowers. Here though, the flowers are particularly abundant, carpeting entire streets with colour and fragrance, and with patterns more fanciful and imaginative than most. Although it is a religious festival, it is also a popular one, attracting large festive crowds and generating a lively atmosphere. In the fun town of Sitges, it is a case of any excuse for a party.

Venue:
Streets and churches of Sitges.

Address:
Placa Ajuntamento and central area, Sitges, Spain

Event cost:
Free.

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Hogueras San Juan (Saint John's Festival)

Date (To be confirmed):
June 2014 (Late June)

Like its larger neighbour Alicante, Torrevieja celebrates Saint John's Day ......

Like its larger neighbour Alicante, Torrevieja celebrates Saint John's Day with fireworks and bonfires, albeit on a smaller scale. The pagan origins of the 'Hogueras de San Juan' are all to do with the triumph of light over darkness. This is a festive occasion with eating, drinking and leaping over the flames. Often the custom of swimming in the sea at dawn is practised here too.

Venue:
Various locations in Torrevieja.

Address:
Includes city centre and beach, Torrevieja, Spain

Event cost:
Free.

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Festival of San Juan

Date (To be confirmed):
June 2014 (St Andrew's Day.)

Bonfires burn all over Spain on the Day of Saint John, and the historic sea ......

Bonfires burn all over Spain on the Day of Saint John, and the historic seaside town of Castro Urdiales is no exception. On the night of 23 June, a great blaze lights the sky at La Atalaya, the watchtower, marking the start of festivities. There is dancing on the main square preparatory to the main events on the following day. A football tournament is one of the attractions but the main event is the carnival-style procession with grotesque giants, music and costume parades. It is a popular day in which the people of the town celebrate the beginning of summer.

Venue:
Calle San Juan and various in Castro Urdiales.

Address:
Includes Calle San Juan, Plaza del Ayuntamiento and La Atalaya (watchtower), Castro Urdiales, Spain

Event cost:
Free.

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Batalla del Vino (Wine Battle)

Date (To be confirmed):
June 2014

In La Rioja they produce fine wine for drinking, and a cheaper variety for ......

In La Rioja they produce fine wine for drinking, and a cheaper variety for throwing at the annual Batalla del Vino in and around the historic town of Haro. It may have begun as a land dispute with the neighbouring town, but each year bands of townsfolk ascend a particular hill and throw, jetison or hose quantities of red wine on the perceived 'enemy'. It is an entirely good natured battle, one that originated in the early 20th century. Up to a week of festivities take place during the wine fair, before the day of battle. On this morning, events are opened by a parade of horsemen in the town, and the placement of a flag upon the summit. The crowds ascend the hill and battle commences. Afterwards, they return to the town to where further festivities await. These include running with smallish cattle in the bullring, eating, drinking and merrymaking in the town centre.

Venue:
Outdoor locations in and around Haro.

Address:
Includes Riscos de Bilibio hilltop, Plaza La Paz in the centre of town and the bullring, Haro, Spain

Event cost:
Free.

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Villajoyosa Moors and Christians

Date (To be confirmed):
July 2014 (TBC.)

Villajoyosa's festival of Moors and Christians has been running for over 25 ......

Villajoyosa's festival of Moors and Christians has been running for over 250 years, commemorating an event in 1538. Berber pirates, led by one Zale-Arraez, tried to attack the town but Santa Marta came to the rescue by causing a flash flood which wiped out the enemy fleet. Santa Marta became patron saint and the fiesta became an annual fixture. There are marches and processions of costumed 'armies' in the days leading up to 28 July, when the spectacular landing is held. Crowds of people arrive at the beach as early as five in the morning. While the Christians prepare their artillery, over 30 Moorish vessels draw near. They make landfall and a battle ensues, spreading to the foot of the castle, which is eventually taken by the Moors. There is a great deal of ceremonial exchange before (not to give too much of the story away) events reach a happy conclusion. Gastronomic competitions, open-air dances and firework displays form part of the celebrations.

Venue:
Various locations in Villajoyosa.

Address:
Beach, streets and castle in central areas of town, Villajoyosa, Spain

Event cost:
Free.

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San Benito de Lerez

Date (To be confirmed):
July 2014

San Benito, otherwise known as 'Benitino' or 'Bieito', is credited with man ......

San Benito, otherwise known as 'Benitino' or 'Bieito', is credited with many miracles and cures. In many towns and villages of Galicia, but especially in Lerez near Pontevedra, his day is marked with celebrations. Decorated boats cross the river Lerez to pay homage to him at the Benedictine monastery there. Devout Galicians make a pilgrimage, but the solemnity is relieved with festivities later in the day when there is traditional singing and music. Food and drink typical of the region is available. Foremost among his many virtues, San Benito is reckoned to be a whiz at curing warts.

Venue:
Lerez Monastery and various locations.

Address:
On banks of Lerez river, 4km (2.5 miles) north of Pontevedra, Near Pontevedra, Spain

Event cost:
Free.

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Danza de los Zancos (Stilt Dancing)

Date (To be confirmed):
July 2014

In the small rural town of Anguiano, the townsfolk celebrate the day of Mar ......

In the small rural town of Anguiano, the townsfolk celebrate the day of Mary Magdalene, its patron saint, with a strange and colourful stilt dancing tradition. An image of the saint is escorted through the streets by dancers on stilts wearing voluminous coloured skirts and accompanied by musicians playing bagpipes and drums. The festivities begin at the main church, where the dancers collect an icon of the saint and carry it off in a spinning waltz, down the steps and downhill, through the streets to the square, before proceeding to a shrine, where the icon is laid to rest. The ceremony is thought to have originated in the distant past when shepherds may have negotiated their way through floods by strapping on stilts.

Venue:
Monasterio de la Valvanera.

Event cost:
Free.

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Festa Major (Traditional Festival)

Date (To be confirmed):
July 2014

Santa Cristina is the patron saint of the resort town of Lloret de Mar, and ......

Santa Cristina is the patron saint of the resort town of Lloret de Mar, and every 24 July she is revered and celebrated with folk dancing in the form of the traditional Morratxa. There is also a procession by sea, in which a statue of the Virgin Mary is carried by an ornately decorated flotilla to the Santa Cristina hermitage. This forms part of the wider festivities, incorporating the feasts of Sant Jaume and Sant Elm, which last several days. A special country stew is prepared for everyone, and the 'S'amorra amorra' boat regatta takes place. A firework display brings events to a spectacular close.

Venue:
Various in Lloret de Mar.

Address:
Includes Plaza de la Vila, waterfront, hermitage of Santa Cristina, Lloret de Mar, Spain

Event cost:
Free.

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Santa Maria de Ribarteme (Fiesta of Near Death Experiences)

Date (To be confirmed):
July 2014

This pilgrimage and celebration is for people who have come close to death ......

This pilgrimage and celebration is for people who have come close to death and lived to tell the tale. Bizarrely, they attend church in a coffin, borne aloft by members of their family. This is an unusual occasion, and a good place to hear near-death experiences related. Las Nieves is a small town in Galicia near the border with Portugal. Thousands of people fill its narrow streets on the day of Santa Maria, and those who cannot get in to the packed church can listen to the service relayed over loudspeakers. Afterwards, there is a procession carrying a large statue of Santa Maria to the cemetery and back.

Venue:
Various locations, Las Nieves.

Address:
Includes parish church, cemetery, streets of town centre, Las Nieves, Spain

Event cost:
Free.

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Semana Grande / Aste Nagusia

Date (To be confirmed):
August 2014 (TBC.)

In San Sebastian (Donostia in Basque) the Big Weekend (Semana Grande) is wh ......

In San Sebastian (Donostia in Basque) the Big Weekend (Semana Grande) is when Aste Nagusia takes place. Reflecting its early origins as an aristocratic resort, San Sebastian puts on a regal show for this week of varied events. Commencing with a gunshot (the Artillero) on the Sunday evening, bullfighting is regarded by many as a highlight of the week which follows, but the fireworks competition is without doubt the most spectacular event. Thousands of people pour into the city to enjoy them, as well as music concerts, street entertainment and bands performing in public squares. Beauty pageants, theatre shows, sporting events, a regatta, surfing and plenty of mouth-watering local delicacies keep everyone happy through the course of the week, with a variety of music to choose for the evening's entertainment.

Venue:
Venues across San Sebastian.

Event cost:
Many events are free.

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Misterio de Elche (Mystery Play)

Date (To be confirmed):
August 2014 (TBC.)

UNESCO has declared the Elche Mystery Play to be a Masterpiece of World Ora ......

UNESCO has declared the Elche Mystery Play to be a Masterpiece of World Oral and Intangible Heritage. In simpler terms, it is a lyrical drama dating from the Middle Ages, about the death of the Virgin Mary and her ascent to heaven. First performed in the 15th century in the Basilica of Saint Mary, the play has only survived because Elche obtained a Papal Bull to keep it alive after performances in churches were banned by the Council of Trent. The play is the last surviving example of this type of drama, employing Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque melodies. The story is related by 300 amateur performers and singers, and watched by the entire town. After the performance there is a major procession through the streets of Elche. A full dress rehearsal takes place on the first three days of the festival, while the main event takes place on the final two days.

Venue:
Basilica of Santa Maria.

Address:
Near the town centre, Elche, Spain

Event cost:
Free.

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San Sebastian International Film Festival

Date (To be confirmed):
September 2014

The cosmopolitan nature of the San Sebastian provides a fitting environment ......

The cosmopolitan nature of the San Sebastian provides a fitting environment for an international film festival. Buildings come alive with posters in the run up, evoking different moments in the festival's history. The Official Poster takes on almost iconic status as the highlight, creating an extra special atmosphere. Screenings are at different venues in the city and there are also gala events and ceremonies. The international flavour of the festival is illustrated by a glance at the list of past guests which usually includes many top names from Hollywood.

Venue:
Kursaal Centre and various cinemas.

Event cost:
From €5.

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Festival of San Andres

Date (To be confirmed):
November 2014 (St Andrew's Day.)

San Andres, or Saint Andrew, is the patron of the historic seaside town of ......

San Andres, or Saint Andrew, is the patron of the historic seaside town of Castro Urdiales and his day is celebrated each year. Because he is the saint of seafarers, the menu of the day features, appropriately enough, shellfish and sea bream, prepared in the local style. Rowing regattas, parades of small boats and popular open-air dances and competitions recall the town's seafaring traditions of past and present.

Venue:
Harbour of Castro Urdiales.

Event cost:
Free.

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Spain 2015 events

La Tamborrada

Date (To be confirmed):
January 2015

If staying in San Sebastian at this time, La Tamborrada would be hard to mi ......

If staying in San Sebastian at this time, La Tamborrada would be hard to miss. The sound of massed drums fills the night air from midnight, as the first regiments of uniformed drummers strike up and march off, from the square in the centre of the city through the neighbourhoods of the old town. Rank after rank parades through the streets, each band drumming up a storm that does not abate. All day long and into the next night, the marchers march and the drums roll endlessly. Sleep is banished and high spirits are compulsory in this noisy celebration in honour of the city's patron saint.

Venue:
Plaza de la Constitution and city streets.

Event cost:
Free.

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Coso Blanco

Date (To be confirmed):
February 2015

The Cantabrian resort and harbour of Castro Urdiales is an attractive and h ......

The Cantabrian resort and harbour of Castro Urdiales is an attractive and historic holiday town with several colourful fiestas. Foremost of these is the floral festival of Coso Blanco. Although this is a local event, it has something of a carnival feel with its many floats decorated with artistic creations, its parades and showy costumes. Colour and music are the key elements and the difference with Cosa Blanco is that the parade takes place late in the night. The processions converge at a park in the town, brightly lit for the occasion and enlivened with bands. To a storm of confetti and streamers, the open-air dance parties get underway. Entertainments and a customary 'bull of fire' help make this a wild and memorable night.

Venue:
Streets and squares of Castro Urdiales.

Event cost:
Most events are free.

Category:
Dance

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Sitges Carnival

Date (To be confirmed):
February 2015 (Usually 7 days up to and including Ash Wednesday.)

The Bohemian resort of Sitges, the playground of Barcelona and a popular ga ......

The Bohemian resort of Sitges, the playground of Barcelona and a popular gay destination, celebrates carnival with particular verve. Up to a quarter of a million Catalans, Germans, Britons and other Europeans fill the city for a week of uninhibited revelry. Festivities commence on the Thursday before Lent with the arrival of the King of the 'Carnestoltes' and ends with the Burial of the Sardine (a large effigy) on Ash Wednesday. Highlight of the week is a grand parade of more than 3,000 costumed masqueraders and up to 50 floats. Sitges is a party town, and carnival is the party of all parties that's sure to appeal to fun lovers of every persuasion.

Venue:
Passeig de la Ribera and main streets of resort.

Event cost:
Free.

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Palm Sunday

Date (To be confirmed):
April 2015 (Palm Sunday.)

The town of Elche is famous for its Palmera - a grove of immense palm trees ......

The town of Elche is famous for its Palmera - a grove of immense palm trees planted by the Moors. Thanks to the plentiful supply of blanched palm leaves, the celebrations of Holy Week have always been observed with particular enthusiasm, especially on the opening day, Palm Sunday. The main event of the day is the Palm Procession in which fronds are carried through the streets by the faithful, commemorating Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem. There is also a weaving competition in which leaves are fashioned to create complex figures, relating to the events of Holy Week or to Elche's monuments and traditions. Elche has done well out of the blanched palm leaf trade, as records going back to 1492 confirm. To this day, Elche continues to export ceremonial palm leaves to the rest of the Catholic world.

Venue:
Churches and streets of Elche.

Event cost:
Free.

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Holy Week (Semana Santa) in Murcia

Date (To be confirmed):
April 2015

Easter week is celebrated throughout most of Spain with religious processio ......

Easter week is celebrated throughout most of Spain with religious processions, and the city of Murcia is no exception. In fact it is distinguished by several variations on the usual theme, including nocturnal processions and the custom of handing out sweets, boiled eggs and buns. Easter in Murcia has been described as an explosion of beauty, passion and Baroque. The night sky illuminated with candles and lanterns; the mingling scents of orange blossom and incense; the colour and the music - all these things combine to create a very atmospheric effect. Through the afternoon of Ash Wednesday, the red cloaked and hooded attendants of Aurora parade the streets. On Thursday night the city lights are switched off and the procession passes in a silence broken only by the choirs of the different brotherhoods. Good Friday morning sees the procession of 'Los Salzillos'. Members of the Nazarenes brotherhood begin their march at dawn dressed in purple gowns.

Venue:
Churches of Murcia.

Address:
Includes Cathedral, Santa Clara and main streets of old centre, Murcia, Spain

Event cost:
Free.

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El Bando de la Huerta and Spring Fiestas

Date (To be confirmed):
April 2015

After the sombre events of Holy Week in Murcia there is a one-day break bef ......

After the sombre events of Holy Week in Murcia there is a one-day break before El Bando de la Huerta marks the start of a few more festive days. The first day of the Spring Fiestas takes place in the principal squares and parks, where groups of people from the country ('penas') set up stalls ('barracas'), serving traditional Murcian dishes. The penas also put on folkloric performances, wearing distinctive costumes, traditional to their group. Thousands of people from the countryside fill the streets, each in the costume of their village, to join in the street parades and festivities which engulf the town. The day begins with a floral offering to the Virgin of Fuensanta, the patron of the city, at the cathedral. After a long lunch at the barracas, the parade moves on through the afternoon, a long cavalcade of floats and marchers bearing the products of the countryside, through adjoining neighbourhoods and back to the centre.

Venue:
Streets and squares of Murcia.

Event cost:
Free.

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Edited by Jane Duru
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