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Free Spain Travel Guide

Festivals in Spain

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Festivals in Spain - Free Spain Travel Guidebook

Fiestas , Festivities and Holidays

Festival of Moors and Christians, Alicante

Afiesta is a holiday, in Spain a unique blending of the festive and religious. The calendar shows some 1,500 observed annually in different parts of the country. Each province commemorates its own religious holidays, and most towns and villages hold at least one annual fiesta on the feast day of their patron saint.

Fourteen major festivals offering insight into the Spanish temperament are observed nationwide. On these days, bars and restaurants remain open¡ shops, offices and banks are closed.

    New Year's Day. January 1. The streets are filled with noise and activity on New Year's Eve. The following day, families enjoy a traditional meal at home.

    Epiphany. January 6. This, more than Christmas, is the day on which the Three Kings distribute their gifts to children.

    Saint Joseph's Day. March 19. Processions and bullfights take place during the day. At night costumed celebrants burn fantastic figures. The fallas of Valencia is the most spectacular expression of this holiday.

    Holy Thursday, Good Friday. Variable dates. Holy Week is noted for elaborate processions, especially those in Seville, Valladolid and Burgos, in which penitents bear religious statues through the streets.

    Corpus Christi Day. Variable date. Magnificent processions pass over carpets of flowers laid in the streets. Granada, Barcelona and Toledo pay homage to the Eucharist with particular fervor.

    Labor Day. May l. Officials recognize contributions made by working people.

    Saint John's Day. June 24. Moors symbolizing bad luck perform burlesques in which they are put to death. The most dramatic presentations are enacted in the villages of the province of Alicante.

    Saint James' Day. July 25. Pilgrims journey to the tomb of Spain's patron saint in Santiago de Compostela.

    Assumption Day. August 15. This ancient festival honors the Virgin Mary with mystery plays and sporting events.

    Columbus Day. October 12. Parades commemorate the discovery of the New World.

    All Saints' Day. November 1. A somber occasion on which tombs are decorated with flowers and candles lit for the dead.

    Immaculate Conception Day. December 8. Men and boys go from house to house singing and ringing bells. Women and girls parade in their new winter finery.

    Christmas Day. December 25. On Christmas Eve almost everyone attends midnight mass. Families gather together on Christmas Day to enjoy seasonal foods.

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