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Archive for the ‘traditions’ Category

“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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While culinary culture was always there as a side benefit, it has developed to the new reason why we’re traveling. And where can you have better food holidays than in the food mecca Spain – a country full with different flavors, delicious food, great restaurants and the famous local markets?

Gastronomy markets in Spain have always been the epicenter of civic life and a labyrinth of the freshest fruits, vegetable, meat and fishes. Hosted in historic buildings in the heart of the cities, some markets are no longer only offering local products but have developed to outstanding culinary experiences with a great variety of gourmet and crafts options and sometimes even live music. With their great culinary diversity, they are also the perfect food supplier for better restaurants in Spain.

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La Boqueria Market in Barcelona, (source: SuiteLife)

Gastronomy markets are a great way to get an insight into the food traditions of Spain. Sip a beer at the market of San Miguel, explore the wonderful market of Chamberí or stand around at the trendy food market San Anton to experience Madrid’s most popular and unique markets.

Market of San Miguel belongs to the gastronome of San Miguel society whose aim is to improve the traditional activity. La Boquería of Barcelona used as inspiration, the market focuses on high quality products, seasonal food and offering samples.

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Market of San Miguel in Madrid, (source: Spain Attractions)

The traditional market Chamberí, which has been operating for almost 70 years, is one of Madrid’s best known markets due to its great quality and variety of products. While it started as a food market, it has been modernized and features now also other services.

The biggest market in Madrid Maravillas is known for its fresh products which are great presented and of high quality. Maravillas is not only outstanding because of its architecture, numerous facilities and professional treatments by its merchant but also because the focus lays on developing eco-sustainable products.

The recently inaugurated San Antón Market in the heart of Chueca represents a new generation of markets with its recycling system. Spreading across three floors and focusing on perishable goods, wine, takeaway services and restaurant areas, the market is an absolute highlight.

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San Antón Market, (source: Pinterest)

Covered in high quality and well known markets, Barcelona is the perfect city to get back to basics and shop the old fashioned way at gastronomy markets. With markets such as Fira Artesana, Santa Caterina market and the famous La Boqueria market, the city offers a great variety and something for everybody.

Fira Artesana opens its doors on the first Friday and Saturday of every month and is specialized in homegrown and homemade products. With its nickname “the honey market”, it has turned into a small jewel of Barcelona.

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Santa Caterina Market, (source: BarcelonaHome)

As the first permanent covered market in Barcelona, Santa Caterina market is not only of great historic importance but also the perfect place to shop fresh fish, meat and delicious pastries. Moreover, the market features several restaurants to enjoy a beer with tapas, a perfect activity for a Sunday afternoon.

La Boqueria market, one of the most prestigious markets in the world, is an official landmark of Barcelona with over 800 years of history. The famous market is always busy and a hotspot for tourists as it offers everything a heart desires.

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La Boqueria Market, (source: Suites Life)

Known as the centers of gastronomy markets, Barcelona and Madrid feature the most famous food markets in Spain. However, other markets such as the central market in Valencia, the famous La Bretxa in San Sebastian and the gourmet market Lonja del Barranco in Sevilla are also must-see’s for food lovers. Experience a culinary journey through Spain and learn why Spanish food markets are treats for everybody when booking a gastronomy tour with us!

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100 years ago, the little town Fatima, not far away from Lisbon, became known worldwide for the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Three children claimed to experience the present of Our Lady on several days between the 13th May and the 13th October 1917 at a place called Cova da Iria. Starting on 13th of May 1917 with the order to pray the rosary for world peace, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared every 13th of a month for six months.

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Jacinta and Francisco Marto and Lucia dos Santos, (source: speramus-hope)

Our Lady of Fatima prophesied the so called three secrets of Fatima on the 13th of July which are interpreted by many people according to events which happened in Europe. The last apparition was watched by hundreds of bystanders and if you can believe in the sayings of witnesses, a sun phenomenon which is still a miracle to the science could be watched on the 13th October 1917.

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the last apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, (source: the Catholic Company)

Although, it took the church a while to officially approve the events happened in Cova da Iria, Fatima is nowadays one of the most important places of pilgrimage for Catholics. People from all over the world come together in the little town to repent and ask the Blessed Virgin Mary for forgiveness. The supernatural and preternatural phenomena on the 13th October 1917 made people believe in the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, however, the church backs out of this statement and highlights instead the significant role of the content and meaning of the message communicated to the children. According to the three kids, the Lady of Fatima gave three tasks to not only bring peace to the world but remain peaceful with each other.

Be sorry for what you’ve done wrong; put God first in your life.

Pray the Rosary each day for peace.

Make sacrifices for sinners so they will know and love God.

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Our Lady of Fatima, (source: Turismo Centro de Portugal)

Normally, celebrations of the apparition are reduced to the 12th of May with a candlelight procession to pray the rosary and the 13th of May where the so called farewell procession is held. However, due to the 100th anniversary, celebrations will be held throughout the year 2017. The highlight will be the visit of Pope Francis to Fatima in May. Coming to Portugal as pilgrim, his program is dominated mainly by moments of prayers. The only scheduled meetings are the ones with the President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and the Prime Minister António Costa.

While the Pope mainly focus on visiting the Basilica, Fatima offers way more to tourists including the incredible Batalha monastery which is a wonder to experience. Other holy sites such as Nazaré and wonderful medieval villages such as Obidos are very close to Fatima. Moreover, the town offers the perfect one day trip from Lisbon!

Don’t miss to join the wide-ranging program including exhibitions, concerts, performances, conferences and summer courses throughout the year! Experience the special place Fatima by booking your trip with us now!

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