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Spanish Fiestas 2009


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Time of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:

The Festividad de San Sebastian is the celebration of Lord Wellington's capture of the city of San Sebastian from French troops in 1812.

The Seville Tapas Fair is a chance to savour a feast of Spanish snacks in the world capital of tapas. In Cadiz, Tenerife, Barcelona and Sitges it's Carnaval with huge celebrations involving fancy dress costumes and dance.

The Festival de Jerez is a flamenco festival with some of Spain's top performers.
In Valencia it's the Fallas de San José where there are huge street parties with incredible fireworks every night and the burning of the fallas (papier-mache effigies of famous people) on the last day.

Some of Spain's biggest festivals take place during April and May starting with Holy Week (Semana Santa) which is important nationwide but is especially recommended in Seville, Cordoba, Granada and Malaga. The celebration of Holy Week is the highlight of the year in Andalucia with teams of parish members carrying enormous religious floats.
In Alcoy, Alicante it's the festival of the Moros y Cristianos where you'll see mock battles between Moors and Christians. Back in Seville, two weeks after Easter it's Spain's biggest annual party at the Seville April Fair (La Feria de Abril). It's also the Romería de Andújar in Andalucia, a mass pilgrimage to a shrine of the Virgin.

In Granada and Cordoba it's the festival of the Cruces de Mayo where large crosses adorn parishes and the locals party in the streets. Cordoba continues its parties with the Fiesta de los Patios, a competition to find the city's most beautiful flower covered patio. Then shortly afterwards it's the Feria de Cordoba, a fiesta of flamenco and all things Spanish that now rivals Seville's April Fair in size. The famous Feria del Caballo, Jerez's Horse Fair is also this month.
Up in Madrid it's the world's largest bullfight festival plus plenty cultural events and parties as Madrileños celebrate San Isidro, the Patron Saint of the capital.

An enormous yet little known festival outside Spain is La Romería del Rocio which is a pilgrimage of up to a million people who travel on foot or by horse and carriage to the shrine of the Virgin at El Rocio in Huelva. Corpus Christi is celebrated to varying degrees all over the country most notably in Toledo and Seville.
In Granada it's the International Festival of Music and Dance whilst the Hogueras de San Juan (midsummer bonfires and fireworks) are celebrated in the south especially Alicante.

The Festival de Cordoba is an International guitar festival that takes place in the gardens of the Alcazar.
In Pamplona it's San Fermin, the famous running of the bulls which always begins on 7th for a week.
San Sebastian attracts some of the top jazz performers to its annual San Sebastian Jazz Festival.
If you're on the south coast on 16th you'll come across a range of different celebrations of the Día de la Virgen de Carmen. Most commonly you'll see a statue of the Virgin carried in from the sea by a flotilla of fishing boats often with some impressive firework displays.
On the 25th it's the Día de Santiago in with the celebration of the Feast of St James when thousands of pilgrims who have walked the Camino de Santiago congregate in Santiago de Compostela where the Saint's tomb lies in the Cathedral.

One of Spain's maddest festivals is La Tomatina Tomato Festival in Bunyol near Valencia which is the world's biggest tomato fight.
Comparable with the Seville April Fair is Malaga's Feria de Malaga which is an enormous 10 day part down on the south coast.
Cambados in Galicia hosts the Albariño wine fair where you can sample some of Galicia's finest white wines.

Jerez de la Frontera celebrates its wine harvest with the Jerez sherry festival which begins on the first Saturday of September every year. Known locally as the Fiestas de Otoño, this is a three week party involving sherry, horses and flamenco.
Also during the first week of September is the Feria Goyesca de Pedro Romero in Ronda where all the townsfolk and the matadors at the weekend bullfight are dressed in typical 18th century costumes.
Catalunya celebrates Cava week, a festival dedicated to the fine Catalan version of champagne whilst Barcelona city celebrates the Festes de la Merce, a huge fiesta with processions, fireworks and dance performances.
In Sueca, Valencia there is a Fiesta del Arroz which is basically a paella festival whilst in Logroño, the centre of the Rioja wine region, it's the Fiesta de San Mateo which is yet another grape harvest festival.

After all the activities of the summer months things tend to calm down this month. The biggest event this month is in Zaragoza when the Pilar Festival celebrates the appearance of the Virgin Mary to St James. The event coincides with Hispanidad, a nationwide fiesta commemorating Columbus's landing in the Americas.

The month begins with the sombre occasion of All Saints Day (Todos Los Santos) when Spanish people from all over the country return to their birthplaces to remember their deceased relatives. There are various film festivals during the month and an alcohol fuelled Fiesta del Orujo in Cantabria which is a great place party with the locals.

Christmas in Spain is a family affair with Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) a very quiet night when all families get together for dinner. After midnight on Noche Vieja (New Years Eve) is as raucous in Madrid's cities as elsewhere in Europe.
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Time of past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
On the practical side, luxury-loving pilgrims may wish to take note of the National Day of Spain, October 12, as it will be very difficult to obtain non-albergue accommodation for that long weekend. All of Spain takes a long weekend.

I do not know if anyone has a list of local fiestas along the Camino-- I first encountered the fiesta experience in Cezur Minor in 2002 and in Rabé de la Calzada in 2005. Do not expect to get much sleep. Villages quadruple in size as Madrilenos return to the ancestral pueblo their grandfather left in 1916, processions wind through the place (I particularly recall the cheerful Visigoths on their float, dancing a marengue, in Tamareite de Litera), tables line the streets and young folk dance until 5.00 or so, taking breaks for various forms of excess, and then having breakfast.


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In June I entered Zamora on the Via de la Plata while they were having a week-long festival de San Pedro, their patron saint. Music every day, the feast of the garlic, with streets filled with mountains of garlic, fireworks, pottery fair.....
it was wonderful

Rebekah Scott

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Time of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
You want a fiesta, just walk across Castilla-Leon in August. There´s gotta be one every night!

And God willing, we´ll have a really excellent one in Moratinos this year, August 22 and 23!
John Brierley 2022 Camino Guide
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Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.

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