Welcome back to all our readers! Spain is famed worldwide for its festivals and fiestas and looking at the various events coming up in the next three months it’s easy to see why. Below you can find a brief summary of our pick of the best festivals, sport events and religious celebrations, etc. taking place in our country from April to June!
As you would expect from a deeply Catholic country, Easter or “Semana Santa” is an extremely important event in Spain. From the smallest village to the largest city, Easter celebrations take over the whole of the country for a week, starting with Palm Sunday on the 13th April until Easter Sunday on the 20th, with thousands of events taking place all across the country. These festivities have centuries of history and tradition and are quite possibly the most important of the year, in all corners of Spain the streets and squares will be filled with people displaying their religious fervour and piety.
For an insder’s glimpse into the preparations that go in to the spectacular Easter Week festivities in Seville, watch the video below.
Later in April, another important festival takes place, especially in Catalonia… Sant Jordi (St. Georges day), also known in Catalonia as the Day of the Book & the Rose takes place on the 23rd of April in the Catalonia region of Spain. Often compared to St. Valentine ’s Day, Sant Jordi day celebrates Barcelona’s patron saint in a very unique manner. According to traditions dating back to the 15th century, on the 23rd of April, couples exchange gifts: a book for the men and a rose for the women.
Book and flower stalls are hastily set up along the streets of Barcelona for the tens of thousands who will take to the streets seeking a gift for their beloved. Throughout the day the streets and squares will also be filled with musicians, authors signing their works, literary events and an endless number of street performers and events.
Just as things are beginning to wind down in Seville after the completion of the momentous Easter Week festivities, the Andalusian capital comes alive once again with an equally spectacular albeit very different festival: the “April Fair” (Feria de Abril). Despite its name, this year it will take place from May 6 to 11.
The April fair is held every year around 2 weeks after the completion of Easter week and in stark contrast to the sombre religious rituals and traditions of the “Semana Santa”, the April fair revolves entirely around good music, delicious food, dancing and great atmosphere. In short, it’s all about the fun.
During the celebration, over a thousand “casetas” or tents are installed in the fairground that then become the hub of all activity in the city, packed to the brim with Sevillians and guests dressed in traditional Andalusian attire: the men with the typical outfit of a farmworker (traje corto) and women with traditional flamenco dresses (faralaes) .
These casetas are mostly owned by groups of friends and local associations and so are private for members and their guests; however there are plenty of public tents which are open to all. Sevillians have always been well known for their friendliness and being inside a caseta really feels like you have stepped in to a family gathering. With plenty of conversation, music, food, wine and local flamenco dancing (“sevillanas”)throughout the night you are sure to have a good time!
A short video clip to give you an idea of the superb atmosphere you’ll find. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNDZ0DPegD0
In Madrid, from the second week of May you can enjoy the festivities in honour of its patron saint, San Isidro, who himself was a resident of Madrid in the 11th century. Whilst the festivities will take place all over the city, they will mostly be concentrated in the barrio of San Isidro in the southern district of Carabanchel. This lively festival celebrates all things Madrilenian, from the wearing of the typical chulapo and goyesco outfits to the cooking of giant Cocido Madrileños, Madrid’s most traditional dish.
The main celebration takes place on the Pradera de San Isidro on the banks of the Manzanares River on the 15th of May as thousands will gather to take part in a pilgrimage to the shrine of San Isidro at the Hermitage of San Isidro and drink water from its spring. Later in the day, hundreds of Madrileños outfitted with traditional clothing will head to Plaza Mayor for the dancing of the typical regional dance known as the chotis as well as to enjoy various open air concerts. Whilst the main festival lasts only from the 9th until the following Sunday, San Isidro also marks the start of Madrid’s San Isidro bullfighting festival season, quite possibly the most important bullfighting festival in the world and as such it also attracts both the best bullfighters and the best bulls from all across the world.
Also in May, one of Spain’s most visually stunning festivals, the Courtyard or “Patios” Festival takes place in Cordoba in the midst of Spring between the 5th and the 18th of May and celebrates the hundreds of beautiful courtyards that the city boasts.
During the two weeks, Cordoba’s inhabitants welcome the general public in to their stunning courtyards carefully decorated with pots of beautiful flowers hanging against the whitewashed walls for all to see and appreciate, with the most beautiful courtyard being crowned the winner at the end of the festival. There will also be various events, concerts and live music happening throughout the weeks so there is plenty to enjoy besides the flowers and of course you will have to take some time to sample Cordoba’s delightful tapas and the delicious local wines!
Other interesting events taking place in May would be the Horse Fair in Jerez, The Moors & Christiana Festival in Alcoy and for those “speed-lovers” the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix near Barcelona and the Jerez Motorcycle GP.
For those interested in Culture, The Madrid Book Fair returns to the Retiro Park again this year from the 30th of May until the 15th of June.
Established in 1933, the book fair attempts to promote Spanish & International literature as well as the authors, editors and institutions engaged in the publishing and distribution of books.
During each day of the fair, publishing companies and bookshops organize book signing sessions as well as talks with some of the world’s most popular authors and with over 200 stalls set up for the occasion, there is bound to be a book for every taste!
On the evening of the 23rd of June, cities, towns and villages all across Catalonia will be lit up with traditional bonfires and countless fireworks for the celebration of the Nit de Sant Joan (St. Johns Eve).
The Nit de Sant Joan, also commonly known as the Night of Fire or the Night of the Witches in Catalan,is celebrated in honour of St. John & the arrival of the Summer Solstice.
Catalonians celebrate the shortest night of the year with feats, firecrackers, street dancing, bonfires and fireworks throughout the night. The electric atmosphere that is felt throughout the region will no doubt keep you going until the early hours!
Other events on this month would be the Catalonia Motorcycle GP and the Haro Wine Festival, in La Rioja, with the popular “Battle of the Wine”. Also, even if the Soccer World Cup will be held in Brazil (from June 12th to July 13th) you shouldn’t miss the chance to enjoy the Spain’s national team games, etc. at the bars, terraces or giant screens surrounded by hundreds (or thousands!) of lively fans supporting the title holder. Don’t forget your red shirt!
Stay tuned for more interesting posts about Spain and, please, remember to share!!!