Spain is a country in Europe, famous for its arts, culture and history. Their eccentric, crazy and fun filled festivals attract tourists every year to witness those events.This is a very travel- friendly place with food, party, fun and fiestas, popular all over the world. The vibrant culture, colorful festival and warm hospitality always make yougo there again and again. They have festivals going on all over the year. No matter whenyou go you will definitely be able to attend a Spanish festival. Many of these festivals are celebrated from ancient times. Here are three major festivals, which are very popular and famous, discussed below.
La Tomatina Festival (August 28)
La Tomatina Festival is one of the craziest, popular and unique events in Spain. This festival is even featured in many movies as well. This food fight festival is held in Bunol on the last Wednesday of August every year. The place is near Valencia, 30 km away from the Mediterranean. People from all over the world come here to participate. They get involved in tomato fights just for entertainment purpose.People gather in town square for the one hour playful food fight. To control the huge number of participants, from 2013 the authority opted for ticketing system to limit it to just 20,000 lucky people. Many cities got inspired and started to arrange similar types of events. The festival was arranged in 1945 for the first time. It started with a street fight among some young people. There was a vegetable market near the fight place. One person started throwing vegetables to everyone from the stall. Very quickly, it turned into a fruit battle and everyone started throwing tomatoes at each other. Then the fight was ended with the help of locals. The next year, the same people came to that exact place and started a pre-planned quarrel. They even bought tomatoes from home with them. The police intervened but the incident became very popular and made history. It was banned in the early 50’s but people were protesting and giving pressure to the authority to bring it back. Now it is celebrated every year. On the festival day, at 11 am many trucks full with over ripe tomatoes arriveat the city center. Though it sounds strange, a slice of ham is placed on top of a greasy wooden pole and a brave person has to reach there to win the ham. Once it is done, the event starts. It lasts for one hour. After that no one can throw any tomatoes. Fire trucks are used to clear the town square with hose pipes. Tomatoes that are used here are cheap, low quality and taste bad. There are few rules for this event. You cannot bring any bottle or hard objects which may hurt people. Do not rip or tear anyone’s cloth. Before throwing, you have to squash the tomatoes. Maintain a distance from the trucks. When the second shot from the pistol is fired you have to stop throwing. Always follow the security personnel’s instructions. To be comfortable during the fight wear closed shoes and old clothes. To save your eyes, you can use goggles. For taking pictures, bring a water proof camera and keep your cellphone in a water proof bag. If you do not stay in Bunol then arrange the accommodation as early as possible.
Running of the Bulls (July 6-14)
This festival is arranged in the city named Pamplona for a whole week. It has been arranged since the 15th century. That time it was held in October. A number of festivals were merged together to make it one. Because of the better weather the festival time moved to July. It starts at noon on July 6 and ends at midnight on July 14. It is held to show honor to the first bishop and patron saint, Saint Fermin.He was born in Pamplona and was a Roman senator. It is said that, he was killed by being tied to a bull and dragged down the street. There are many bull fighting events in Spain but this is the most popular one.In the novel ‘The Sun Also Rises’, the writer Earnest Hemingway gave a description about this festival. The book made the event more popular all over the world. Thousands of brave runners take part in this blood boiling event just for fun and excitement. Each morning six bulls chase the locals or visitors on the road. Three rockets are fired during the race. First one indicates that the pen is opened, the second one is for the bulls start to run and the third one is for finishing the race.Each race takes maximum three minutes. In the evening, bullfights are arranged. Drinks, foods and dances are there to enjoy. Participants cannot take part if younger than 18 years and/orunder the influence of alcohol. There is not any particular dresscode, but runners normally go forall white cloths with a red neckerchief. To block the alleys and side street wooden blocks are placed to create a specific route. There is a lot ofcriticisms from the animal right activists. Also it is discouraged for its danger level.News of injuries is there every year. But it is one of the most popular festivals in Spain. The hotel prices rise adversely at this time. Backpackers or tight budget travelers choose to camp sometimes. If you don’t want to take part, then you can rent a private balcony or spot to watch the chase.
Las Fallas (March 15-20)
The famous spring festival, Las Fallas De Valencia is held from 1st March to 19th in Valencia. Satire, art and tradition, everything can be found here. Fallas means the celebration and also the monument. It is added in UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage of humanity list. Each neighborhood of the Valencia citytakes part in the event by making a monument. From history it is known that it started from an old carpenter’s tradition. To celebrate the arrival of spring, on March 19th they used to burn wooden props which were used during winter to light up. Slowly they made the bonfire big by burning old belongings. The structure was turned into a human being aspect. Today we see them as ninots or dolls. The celebration starts on March 1st after the announcement of the city Mayor. Mascleta, a type of firework is exploded with a loud noise in Plaza del Ayuntamiento.The ninots are made by following an agreed theme. The team of artisans, sculptures, craftsmen, painters and others gather together to create the desired fella. The monuments are built fromwax, wood and polystyrene foam which can be burnt easily. The creations have to be very different, comedic, fanciful and sometimes provocative. Almost 750 associations are there in the city with more than 200,000 members.Many people dress in regional and historical costumes to represent the culture, tradition and history. All the associations have their own band. Instruments like dulcianwithtablets are heard. The whole city becomes colorful and every street becomes a place for having a party. Every day the celebration begins at 8 am with bands playing and marching on the street. The night of 15th March is always very busy. All the monuments must be finished by the next morning. The next day they are set up to display. On 16th March the judges will award the best work and choose ninot indultat. The other figures will be burnt in the bonfire except the awarded one. A procession is arranged towards Plaza del Ayuntamiento on the morning of 17th March. Prizes are given that day. Almost thousand monuments are placed in Valencia, divided in many categories with a special section. From 15th to 19th fireworks fill the sky every night. Impressive display of fireworkson the old riverbed is very memorable and thrilling. Each night is grander than the previous one. The last night is called La Nit Del Foc. On 17th and 18th March, all the Fallas commissions of Valencia paraded to the Plaza de la Virgen for flower offering. Flowers are offered to the Virgen de los Desamparados, patron saint of Valencia. The offering starts from 4pm untilmidnight. The 15-meter high structure of Virgen’s cape filled with flowers. 19thMarch is the last day of the festival. Around midnight the fellas are burnt. Safety measures are always taken for this event. Fireworks, dance, music, street performance, rockets and gunpowder are everywhere to enhance the celebration. There are also many stalls for local street foods to savor them.
Now, what are you waiting for, go pack your bag to witness these amazing festivals in person! But before you leave for this amazing trip, make sure to check out the German website from Backpackertrail, there you can find more information on what to expect on your journey to Span.
List of other major festivals
- January – San Sebastian, La Tamborrada
- February – The carnival Festivals, San Cecilio
- March –Las Fallas, Semana Santa
- April – Feria de Sevilla
- May – Feria del Caballo, Cordoba Patios festival
- June – Haro Wine Festival
- July – International Gay Pride, San Fermin, Benicassim Festival
- August – La Tomatina, Feria de Malaga, Festa Major de Gracia
- September – La Merce
- October – Fiestas del Pilar
- November – International sherry week, San Andres Festivals
- December – Christmas, Gospel Festival Madrid, Dia de la Constitucion