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Archive for the ‘festivals’ Category

Christmas is coming closer and cities in Spain are getting ready for this festive time already. This worldwide known and celebrated event is the most important time for the majority of Spaniards. Due to their focus on religion people are very passionate about Christmas and have many traditions and important dates during this time.

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Source: Madrid Easy

Typical rituals and tradition

Spanish people have lots of different traditions, rituals and celebrations during Christmas time.

Christmas markets: Christmas markets are very popular in Spain, therefore every larger city has at least one during advent time. With lots of decorations and lights they are worth a visit. People go there to buy piles of fruits, flowers, marzipan and other sweets, candles, decorations and hand-made gifts. Two of the most famous are the market in Plaza Mayor, in Madrid and Fira de Santa Llucía in Barcelona.

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Source: Time Out

Christmas village: Like the Christmas tree, the display of Bethlehem and the crib has a high importance for Spanish people. Every Spaniard, celebrating Christmas has one in them home and in Madrid, at the squares Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor, they put up huge cribs which are displayed to the public.

Winter wonderland: In Barcelona, the theme park Portaventure turns into a Winter wonderland in Christmas time and you will even be able to watch ice shows, go to Christmas festivals and Christmas Parades.

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Source: Portaventura

Christmas lights: What would be Christmas without beautiful decoration and colourful lights? The cities in Spain put on a lot of wonderful lights on the main roads and squares to make them shine. You can get the perfect Christmas lights experience when you go with the Christmas Tour Bus in Madrid. It drives in the evening and passes by all the main places which are decorated and lightened up.

Food: Even if you are not the biggest Christmas fan, you will enjoy Spain during this time. The food they serve for Christmas and the sweets they eat during this time are even richer and sweeter than usually. The biggest family meals take place on Christmas Eve and on the 6th of December (Three Kings Day). Typical dishes on these days include roasted lamb, roasted pig, various seafood soups, salad, and any kind of tapas. Traditional sweets are Turrón (almond nougat), marzipan, glacé fruits, mantecados (traditional powdery sweets), Roscón de Reyes (a large ring-shaped bun eaten on January 6th).

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Source: Pura Aventura

Calendar of Christmas time:

December the 8th – Immaculada (Feast of the Immaculate Conception) is the official beginning of Christmas time and is a public holiday in Spain.

December the 21st – It is the shortest day of the year and gets celebrated with Hogueras, which are bonfires.

December the 22nd – The 22nd of December is the due date of the draw of the big Christmas lottery. The first prize is called El Gordo, the fat one. On that day everybody is sitting in front of the TV with crossed fingers.

December the 24th – Noche Buena, Christmas Eve is celebrated with friends and the family. People come together to get drinks and dinner. Some kids already get a first present from Santa Clause.

December the 25th – On Christmas Day traditionally families come together and have lunch.

December the 28th – Santos Inocentes, Holy Innocents day is like April Fools’ Day. People try to trick each other with stories and jokes.

December the 31st –Nochevieja, the New Year’s Eve is celebrated big in Spain. The best places to be are definitely Madrid at the square Puerta del Sol and in Barcelona at the square in front of the fountain Fuente de Montjuïc. At midnight there is a special ritual: 12 strokes before midnight everybody starts eating grapes, one per stroke, if you fulfil that successfully, it means you have good luck in the New Year. At 12 o’clock a big firework starts and everybody drinks champagne and kisses at midnight.

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Source: Tilllate

January the 1st – Nearly the whole country sleeps on that day and needs rest after the big celebration. It is public holiday in the whole country.

January the 5th – Processions are held all over Spain in the evening and sweets are thrown from the floats to all the people who come out to watch.

January the 6th – Día de los Reyes Magos, the Feast of the Epiphany, Three Kings Day, the day when the 3 Kings arrived in Bethlehem to bring presents to baby Jesus. On this day the long waiting has an end, finally the kids get their gifts in the morning. The whole family and friends get together to have a big lunch and sit together for drinks.

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Source: El Estímulo

Not only Spain, but also Portugal has a lot to offer during Christmas time. Lisbon is the perfect example, it is as beautiful as Madrid and Barcelona during this time and all 3 cities are definitely worth visiting.

Are you ready for Christmas? Do not hesitate to contact us for further details about our Christmas packages for Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon.

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You are craving for a Hollywood-like food fight and your heart beats faster when thinking about the fruity smell of tomatoes being all over you? Well than you better keep reading, because we have the non-plus-ultra festival for you!

La Tomatina, one of the most famous festivals of Spain, is hosted every year on the last Wednesday of August in Buñol. Thousands of people from all over the world come together to throw millions of over-ripe tomatoes at each other, enjoy a great party and, most importantly, have the time of their lives!

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source: Love Valencia

While nobody knows exactly when and where the idea of having a food fight in the centre of a town developed, the most common rumor is about a food fight between friends which escalated in 1945. As some youngsters remembered the event and repeated the messy festival the year after, La Tomatina was forbidden by the city council and local police in the early 50s. After countless protests and imprisonments, the festival became an official festivity of Buñol in 1957 and is loved by everybody ever since then: while in the first years visitors were mainly from Spain, people from all over the world join the festival nowadays.

Prepare yourself for the 30th of August because nobody is going to stay clean! La Tomatina starts at 11 AM and for an hour, you are fighting for yourself against everybody else. Officially, the battle doesn’t start before somebody has climbed a high pole to get the coveted ham at the top. However, the fired water cannons are signal enough to start the fight! While the cleaning progress of the streets is great organized by the city council, only a few public showers are offered and most people find themselves cleaning their clothes in the river.

We won’t lie to you – La Tomatina is a mess, a funny mess, tho. To enjoy the festival to the fullest wear old clothes and closed shoes you are not sad throwing away afterwards. Moreover, leave valuable stuff at home and be respectful with others! One last tip from the professionals: Tuck your shirt into your shorts to always have a clean part to wipe your eyes with!

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source: Flores y plantas

You can read as much as you want about La Tomatina – you will never know how it actually feels like being involved in the biggest food fight of the world when you don’t participate. Book now to join us for THE event of the year because tickets are limited and hotels and hostels in Buñol and surrounding often fully booked out weeks before the event happens! Believe us: you will have the time of your life!

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“When we reached the battlefield it was already purple and full of empty wine cartons. The sun was unrelenting and it was hard to differentiate between friends and enemy because out there – there are no rules.” It sounds like it is time for the battle of the year again, because the battle of wine is back in Haro and we are thirstier than ever for red wine!

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source: decanter

Originating from the days back in the 13th century when the city Haro had to defend itself against its neighbors in Miranda de Ebro to stay independent, the battle of wine is a hundreds of years old tradition. After a mass on the 29th of June in 1710, the first battle of wine occurred at the Bilibio cliffs and ever since then, people celebrate this day with pouring wine on each other.

Even though, the festivity is celebrated on the Feast Day of St Peter, you will barely find a local being aware of this Feast Day. The so-called Battle of Wine, known as Batalla del Vino in Spanish is all about wine, people and drinking and has made the small city Haro in La Rioja world famous.

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source: The Independent

Although, the battle of wine is the most important act of the festival, the celebrations are going on for almost a week, starting on Saturday night with wine, fun and partying. Meet up with your friends at the town square, the centre of the celebrations on Saturday to drink, eat and enjoy the great vibes.

The actual battle is on the 29th of June and you have to get up early to participate: starting with a procession at 7 AM at the cliffs of Bilibio like in the old days, the crowd continues to the “battlefield of wine” right afterwards. Take a bus for the first part of the road and prepare yourself to walk the last kilometre as the buses cannot turn there.

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source: Tasting Europe

No rules are set during the fight: Whether you want to use buckets, wineskins or sprayers; as long as it can hurl thousands of liters of wine all over the crowd it is perfect for the fight. Bear in mind that the battle is like a playground to locals: no matter how hard you hit them, they know thousands of ways to get you back even worse. Survive the battle by wearing googles – red wine can be painful and remember that you are a guest during this festivities: the festival is made by locals and for locals and while there are already a lot of tourists, the battle of wine has not lost its original flair yet.

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source: Daily Mail

At midday, when everybody is purple from head to toe and it is sure that nobody can get rid of the smell for the next few days, the crowd heads back to Plaza de la Paz to celebrate with great food and more wine. Finish off the day with a bullfight in the arena whereby no animal is killed!

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source: Decanter.com

It is no surprise that the festival is celebrated in Haro where 40 % of the entire La Rioja region’s vineyards are situated and wine is running though the veins of the locals. However, there are more must-sees in Spain for wine lovers. To give examples, Ribera de Duero and the region Valdepeñas are world famous for their long history of producing quality wine.

No matter if it’s the dirty wine battle or a classy wine route which fascinate you – Spain offers both. Contact us now to get more information about our wine programs and fall in love with the unique taste of Spanish quality wine when traveling to one of the most famous wine regions in the world!

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Forget everything you’ve ever heard about how to celebrate the beginning of summer and imagine yourself on an endless beach lighted up by thousands of bonfires under the moonlight. Imagine how it must feel like dancing and drinking through the shortest night of the year together with good friends and completely strangers. Pure magic! What sounds like building castles in the sky is a wide-spread tradition throughout Spain’s coastline.

The Bonfire of San Juan is one of the biggest festivals in Spain and takes place in dozens of towns of the country. What most people don’t know: this celebration does not only start the summer off bright but is also the official beginning of local festivals in Spain. While the festivity of bonfires of San Juan is getting more important the closer to the sea you get, the celebrations are nowhere bigger than around Alicante which is during these days full of bonfires, fireworks, music, dancing and great food.

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source: donquijote.org

The “Hogueras de San Juan” are celebrated from the 21st to the 24th of June, reaching its peak on the 23rd of June, the day before the Feast Day of Saint John the Baptist. While Christians honor Saint John the Baptist during this festival, many others believe in the protection against evil spirits and witches through the bonfires. Having its origin hundreds of years ago, the celebrations were formally constituted in 1928 and are nowadays Alicante’s biggest festival.

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source: Magek Spa

Although, Hogueras de San Juan is not starting before the 21st of June, preparations for the awe-inspiring bonfires begin on the 19th of June to ensure the greatest festival of the year. The days from the 21st to the 24th of June are packed with events: every morning at 8 AM, the streets are full of noise and clamoring, continuing with incredible loud firecrackers at 2 PM and bullfights at 7 PM. True to the slogan “sleep when you’re dead”, party animals celebrate every night from 11 PM to 6 AM in the morning. Outstanding parades (Street Band Parade on the 21st and International Folklore Parade on the 23rd of June), dressed up women called Beauty or queen of the festival and exuberant atmosphere make the festival to one of the most amazing festivals to visit.

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source: Veoapartment

All major traditions during this festival like jumping over the bonfire three times, running into the sea at midnight and washing your face with perfumed water carry basically the same message: to be cleansed and purified for the upcoming year and to burn/wash problems away. Beside these leading customs, regional traditions such as placing three potatoes (peeled, un-peeled and half peeled) underneath the bed and hoping to pull out the un-peeled one as it means good health and prosperity, sharing hot chocolate and throwing dolls into fire are of great importance for Spaniards. Probably the most curious tradition is the so called fire walk where young men try to cross the hot coals at midnight without getting burned.

No place is more exciting and spectacular during La Fiesta de San Juan than Alicante. Reserve your spot NOW with Across Spain and ask for our festival programs, to experience how traditional Christian, Catholic and Pagan rituals and beliefs can make up a remarkable festival!

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Have you ever wondered how it must feel like when six fighting bulls accompanied by six tamed bell oxen chase you 875 meters through narrow streets? Or have you ever wished for a party where you find special events and an absolute unique atmosphere at all times of the day and night? Stop searching for the perfect festival, because we have already found it: San Fermin in Pamplona from the 6th to the 14th of July has everything you could ever wish for!

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San Fermin Festival, (source: Eye on Spain)

When you see a rocket being launched from a city hall balcony at noon on the 6th of July and all of the sudden everybody around you wears a red scarf, you know the celebrations of San Fermín have started and will not find an end until the song “Pobre de Mi” can be heard at midnight on the 14th of July. 9 days and nights full of tradition and of course – bull running.

It all started in the third century A.D. when the young man San Fermín moved from Pamplona to Toulouse to become a bishop. After a cruel dead through torture and decapitation, parts of his relics found their way back to Pamplona in the middle ages and made him popular in the region. Since the 12th century processions in his honor are held around the old part of Pamplona. Finding its origin in religion, San Fermín is nowadays a great party for everybody.

While processions are still held nowadays, the focus of the festival is since the 14th century on bull running which evolved out of the idea to entice bulls forward by bull minders and young butchers. The tradition of Running of the Bulls starts the day during the festival and can be joined by everybody over 18 years. However, party animals who just left the club and want to end their night with bull running are strictly forbidden and must reckon high penalties. Deciding to rather watch than being part of this dangerous event does not mean you lose your face! As the streets are especially crowded during the famous Running of the Bulls, be prepared to start scrambling for a good spot at 5:30 to 6:00 AM. Book a balcony for the run to ensure yourself not only a longer sleep but also the best views of the run!

 

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Running of the Bulls, (source: El Periódico)

The hype over bull running lets us almost forget about the other amazing traditional events taking place during San Fermín. Due to competitions in different typical sports like stone lifting, wood cutting, or hay bale lifting, spectacular fireworks every night and daily parades of gigantes y cabezudos, San Fermín is the most internationally renowned festival in Spain.

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parades of gigantes y cabezudos, (source: Erasmus Republik)

Contact us NOW to reserve your booking for the most amazing Spanish festival of the year! Experience tradition at every turn and learn how Spaniards celebrate by joining them during these fantastic days!

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875 m race, (source: El Pais)

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