August 24, 2016 No Comments

The Ceaseless Fiestas & Public Holidays In Spain

Most people take their annual holiday in July or August, when their is a general exodus to the coast.

Public Holidays or Fiestas

Spain is well known for its “fiestas” or public holidays, which are celebrated on a national, regional, town/village and even neighbourhood level. Fiestas last several days with fairground stalls and rides, food and drink, music and dancing in the street, all originally in honour of a patron saint. A visit to such a village fiesta can be a memorable event for both children and adults.

The most important Catholic holy days are recognised by the State and declared non-working days.

Easter

Holy Week celebrations are important throughout Spain. Images of the Virgin and Christ decorated and carried through the streets accompanied by members of the various trade fraternities or “cofradías”, dressed as penitents.

The greatest of these Holy Week celebrations takes place in Seville, where the processions accompanied by the singing of “saetas” or laments continue uninterrupted for days and nights on end. If one is lucky enough to find accommodation in Seville for this week it is a quite unforgettable and very Spanish experience.

Moors and Christians

Many celebrations commemorate historical events, such as the defeat of the Moors at the hands of such legendary figures as Rodrigo, “El Cid”. Mock battles are held annually in many of the towns and villages of Spain’s east coast often with a vast expenditure of gunpowder, until the surrender of the Moors is accepted, often not until the second or third day, when swords are sheathed for another year.

Christmas

Spanish customs at Christmas are changing. Traditionally families celebrate with a supper on Christmas Eve and children had to wait until 6th January for the arrival of the Three Kings bringing presents for all. On the evening of 5th many towns the Three Kings stage a procession through the streets, much to the excitement of the young and not so young.

Many people are now adopting Father Christmas and children receive their presents on Christmas Eve, as this gives them time to enjoy their presents before returning to school. However, the tradition of the Three Kings is still strong and many families celebrate both holidays.

New Year’s Eve

As the clock in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol strikes midnight, have ready twelve grapes to pop into your mouth, one on each chime of the clock to bring you good luck throughout the new year.


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