If you are spending time in Spain over the holiday period, carry on reading to find out what goes on and what is celebrated in the local area.
Spain is renowned as one of the countries with the highest number of “fiestas” or bank holidays in the world. Practically every major occasion warrants a fiesta or celebration, and every month there is at least one occasion where residents gather together to watch or take part in a festival of some kind or another.
Torrevieja and the surrounding areas are no exception to the above and celebrate a huge number of popular fiestas. Some are religious traditions whilst others are of a more popular and fun nature; some are local celebrations related to Torrevieja itself, whilst others are major official national holidays.
Whatever the type of fiesta it is always sure to be a colourful and extravagant event, often involving fantastic costumes, impressive parades and plenty of food and drink.
Below are details on the major fiestas and festivals celebrated in Torrevieja throughout the year:
January 1: New Year’s Day is a national holiday where everything is closed and people are either still partying or recovering from the night before.
January 5: Three Kings parade – Traditionally it was the three kings or wise men that brought presents to the children of Torrevieja and this fiesta celebrates that. In this popular fiesta the three kings arrive by boat at the harbour and transfer to their majestic floats. From the harbour they parade along the main streets of Torrevieja throwing sweets into the crowd.
January 6: Three Kings Day – This is a national holiday when all the children open their presents and play with their new toys. The two days are reminiscent of the way in which we celebrate Xmas in the UK in December.
February: Another fun and very popular fiesta is the Carnival which is based upon the world-famous Carnival of Brazil. Approximately 30 groups dress up in amazing costumes and parade along the main streets of Torrevieja in a fanfare of colour, dance and drums. There are two parades, one for children on a Sunday afternoon, and another the following Saturday in a more adult and risque fashion.
April: Semana Santa, or Holy Week is perhaps the most important fiesta of the year and definitely the most religious and solemn. This fiesta celebrating Easter consists of a week of religious processions, which mainly take place late in the evening, where huge, ornate floats or “pasos”, depicting various scenes of the life of Jesus, are carried through the streets by residents of the city. The largest processions are on Good Friday and Easter Monday.
May: The May Fair – This festival usually takes place during the first week of May over a number of days and brings a slice of Andalucía to Torrevieja. The fairground region of Torrevieja is converted into an area of specially decorated huts, where typical tapas and Andalucian food is served and the public dance sevillanas into the early hours of the morning. There are always live performances from famous flamenco singers and dancers on a main stage set up in the middle.
June: During the third week of June many cities in Spain celebrate the fiestas of San Juan with bonfires, burning effigies and plenty of fireworks. Torrevieja also celebrates in style on June 23 with a massive 25-minute firework display on Playa del Cura at midnight, after which friends gather together around small bonfires on the local beaches and party into the early hours of the morning.
July: July 16 celebrates the day of the Virgen del Carmen, the patron saint of fishermen. As Torrevieja was essentially a fishing village, this day is very special to the residents of the city. To honour the saint, local fishermen bring a statue of the Virgen del Carmen to the shore by boat and carry her on a float in a special parade around the main streets of the city.
During the last week of July Torrevieja plays host to the now world-famous competition of habaneras and poliphony, where choirs from across the globe come to Torrevieja to compete in this major competition that was founded in Torrevieja in 1955.
August: August sees an influx of tourists in the city with thousands of visitors driving down from Madrid and other inland areas for their annual month’s summer holiday. The city is buzzing both during the day and at night, as during this month Torrevieja doesn’t seem to sleep. Although much time is spent on the beach or out enjoying the nightlife, there are a couple of celebrations that take place this month. The 15th sees the crowning of the Queen of the Salt, who then parades around the town atop her special float, followed by all the other participants from other towns and similar party-goers. Torrevieja always holds several major music events this month, which in the past has included concerts from Shakira, REM and Depeche Mode.
October: October 9 is a bank holiday to celebrate the Day of the Valencian Region and October 12 is Spain’s National Day celebration, which is also awarded a day off. The end of the month ends on a fun note with everyone dressing up for Halloween and going out for the night.
November: A national holiday to celebrate the Day of the Dead or All Saint’s Day, where people generally visit the cemetery and lay flowers at the graves of their loved ones. This month also sees several concerts by the local choirs of Torrevieja in order to celebrate the fiestas of Saint Cecilia, patron saint of musicians.
December: December is a month of celebrations from start to finish. The 6th and 8th are holidays, celebrating Spanish Constitution Day and the Inmaculada Concepción, patron saint of Torrevieja, and the 7th is usually given as a holiday as well! Torrevieja also holds its own fiestas this month, which sees plenty of processions, parades, concerts, children’s activities and religious acts taking place. The inauguration of the “belén” or nativity scene is usually held on the first Saturday of the month, along with the flower offering to the patron saint. There’s a mass at midnight in the main church of Torrevieja on the 24th and Christmas Day is a bank holiday. The main celebration of December is New Year’s Eve, where friends and family gather together to eat and then party in style for the rest of the night. At the stroke of midnight, it is a Spanish tradition to eat one grape on each toll of the bell for good luck. On this night, it is also tradition to breakfast in the early hours of the morning on “chocolate y churros” before making your way home to bed.
Whatever the fiesta you will be sure to enjoy the atmosphere and celebrations when you immerse yourself in the Spanish traditions.
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