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Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

every year in late february the streets in some of spain’s most prominent cities and destinations turn into the stage for colorful and vibrant street festivities. carnival in spain is full of smiles, fun, music and most importantly spectacular costumes and street parades. the period leading up to the start of the 40 days of lent is a time to celebrate and enjoy the atmosphere of high spirits and the feeling that everybody can be whoever or whatever they have ever dreamed about being. the word “carnival” is believed to derive from the words carne (meat) and vale (farewell), a reference to the upcoming abstinence from meat and certain types of luxuries as a form of penitence during the days of lent. because of the importance of catholic holidays in spain, the celebration of carnival, an important part of the religious calendar, is widespread throughout the country. however, the festivities in cadiz, tenerife, sitges, la palma and badajoz are no doubt in a class of their own.

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experience the spanish carnival spirit during celebrations all over the country

cadiz

every year the laid-back atmosphere of this beautiful city on the andalusian coast is suspended for one week to host one of spain’s biggest carnival celebrations. the focus of cadiz’ carnival is on music. wherever you go in the city, streets are filled with a variety of different music groups performing songs, most of them full of irony and social criticism. these songs satirize everything from pop stars to politicians and their catchy tunes bring fun and laughter into the streets of cadiz. carnival season 2015: Febuary, 12th to 22nd for the full event calendar, please visit: www.guiadecadiz.com

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carnival in cadiz is all about music

tenerife

tenerife is known for spectacular landscapes and luxurious resorts, but also for its up to three weeks long celebration of carnival. tenerife’s carnival with its grand parades, spectacular floats, performing bands, brazilian-style ensembles and thousands of people in costumes is only beaten by rio de janeiro as the top world destination for celebrating carnival. be sure to head to santa cruz de tenerife to enjoy what is often considered to be one of the world´s most important annual festivals. watch the colorful parades starring the candidates for the carnival queen election in spectacular costumes that take months to design and make and sometimes weigh more than 200 kilograms. it is sometimes easy to miss the contestant under all the feathers, beads and satin. election of the carnival queen 2015: February 11th for the full event calendar, please visit: www.carnavaldetenerife.com

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the carnival queen in her elaborate costume

sitges

about 40km south of barcelona, the carnival celebrations in sitges belong to the most outstanding events in the catalan calendar. up to 300,000 visitors come to sitges during carnival season every year to enjoy electrifying parties with fancy clothes, feathers, sequins and plenty of skin. sitges has a large lgtb community and during carnival you will see some of the most glamorous drag shows and amazing parades that show off decorated carriages and cross dressers in some of the boldest, brightest costumes you have ever seen. carnival season 2015: February, 12th to 18th  for the full event calendar, please visit: www.visitsitges.com

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find some of the most extra-ordinary costumes in sitges and enjoy its colorful nightlife

la palma

the highlight of la palma’s carnival celebrations, “los indianos”, is celebrated on carnival monday in the capital of the island, santa cruz de palma. this special festivity celebrates the return of the “indianos”, those who left la palma between the 16th and 20th century to migrate to south america. women wear white dresses combined with their finest jewelry while men wear white linen suits and traditional panama hats. popular accessories include straw hats, silk shawls, wrist watches, cigars and old leather suitcases as symbols of the success of their ancestors’ venture. cuban music fills the streets of santa cruz and white powder is thrown all around the city and on the re-enacting “indianos”. dia de los indianos 2015: february, 16th 

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throwing white powder is traditionally part of the carnival celebrations in la palma

badajoz

this beautiful city close to the border to portugal hosts one of the most important and famous carnival festivals in spain. watch the well-known group parade where people from all over the provice participate in to show off their colorful and original customes completed by sophisticated choreographies and music tunes from the street bands contest. carvival season 2015: February, 13th to 17th   for the full event calendar, please visit: www.aytobadajoz.es

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thousands of people come to badajoz to enjoy the famous carnival parades

there are numerous other carnival festivities all around spain, all of them full of fun and carnival spirit and guaranteed to make you smile. buy a costume or mask and celebrate spanish carnival with us!

for more information on carnival in spain please visit http://www.spain.info. and for more information on tours to these destinations and tips for hotels and transportation, do not hesitate to contact us. we will be happy to assist you to make sure you have a great time during all the carnival festivities around spain.

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christmas lights are starting to appear in shops and city centres all across the country, the temperatures are dropping, and the talks about the christmas national lottery are already in full swing. this can only mean that the winter and the holidays are coming, and with them all the wonderful  and magical traditions cherished by spaniards and travellers to spain alike.


1. all over the country during december, you will find winter and christmas markets, where you can buy or just admire plenty of christmas-related must-have´s:  christmas trees, crafts and candles, home-made items, fruits and sweets.  the most famous markets are the ones in madrid and barcelona, but cities and town all over the country get adorned for the holidays: bilbao, zaragoza, valencia, granada are just a few.

BeFunky_market_better - by rod casro

2. another nationwide, centuries-old tradition is the spanish christmas lottery ´el gordo.´ one of the oldest in the world, it also has one of the biggest prizes each year. this comes at a cost though: the price is around 20€, friends and family often share the ticket price to participate, and if they are lucky, split the winnings! the ´big day´ is on the 22nd of december, when it is common for families and friends to get together to watch the draw.

BeFunky_loteria by álvaro ibáñez


3. food in spain is nearly sacred all year long, but during the winter period the streets and houses of spain are filled with a wonderful show involving all senses, made of various dishes and flavours. perhaps the most unique and eye-catching for the holidays are the sweets: turron is the ´king´ of spanish christmas sweets, a variety of nougat that is prepared in different ways, that has been documented since the 15th century.  mazapán (marzipan) and rosquillos de vino (ring-shaped cookies flavoured with wine and anise or cinnamon) are also very popular treats. yet another special smell and taste that spanish people associate with the cold season and christmas: delicious castañas asadas (roasted chestnuts), which fill the streets of spain from autumn.

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4. representative of longheld religious traditions in spain, during christmas many cities and villages organise belenes vivientes, which are live large-scale performances about biblical scenes. the best known representations take place in buitrago de lozoya located in northern madrid, a charming village which offers the best setting between its walls and towers and the lozoya river.befunky_ cabalgata by Antonio J. de la Cerda 2


5. on the 28th of december, the spanish people celebrate the day of the innocent saints, a day when it is custom to make jokes and pranks, including for the national media, which publishes ridiculous and comical news. when the joker, or the pranker, is discovered, they are ´blamed´ in a friendly way by singing ´inocente, inocente!´ (innocent, innocent!).BeFunky_Inocentes


6. if the new year catches you in madrid, you will be able to enjoy a typical tradition happening every year at midnight in puerta del sol, the very centre of spain:  following the rhythm of the 12 strokes, spanish people eat 12 grapes, in celebration of the new year to come. the midnight countdown is followed by fiestas that last the whole night and a reinvigorating portion of churros con chocolate in the morning.

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7. after new years´ you can celebrate the magical three wise men parade on the 5th of january, which precedes the day of the three wise men. in spain, it is traditional to give christmas gifts on this day, the 6th of january, rather than on the 25th of december. nevertheless, this tradition does not stop people from giving gifts on both days!befunky_ cabalgata by Ayuntamiento E.L.M. Real Cortijo de San Isidro


8. from the end of november, visitors can also enjoy the wonderful show of christmas lights in major cities across spain. every year in madrid, some of the best-known designers, architects and artists leave their marks on the city, creating light installations placed along the streets to surprise the locals and visitors.lights.jpg


sweets, gifts, songs, holidays and a magical aura that surrounds the streets and people of spain during winter time, these ingredients raise spain above the reputation of a sun-sand-and-summer destination to a culturally interesting country all year long.

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