Spain is renowned for its many varied fiestas, with tourists flocking annually to different cities to take part in the lively and fun-filled atmosphere.

Spain’s Most Important Yearly Fiesta

Las Fallas

Las Fallas is a celebration that takes place in the Autonomous Community of Valencia every year between the 12th and 19th of March. Fallas are huge themed sculptures that are burned on the last day of the celebration. Tourists and locals move around the city to see the sculptures, party at night and stay to watch the bonfires and fireworks on the last day. Las Fallas offers a manic and chaotic charm, and travel arrangements and accommodation should be booked early as the city is overrun with tourists.

San Fermin

San Fermin, which is more commonly known as the running of the bulls, runs from July 6th to July 14th. During these 9 days, the population of the city of Pamplona swells in anticipation of July 7th, when at 8am, 6 bulls are unleashed onto the streets, chasing daring and/or stupid men who decide to run in front of them. However, activities abound before and after the running of the bulls, and the celebration ends with the singing of Pobre de Mi (Poor Me) by candlelight on the streets of Pamplona.

The Fiesta del Pilar

The Fiesta del Pilar is celebrated on the same day as the annual recognition of the National Armed Forces. However, in the city of Zaragoza, the week of October 12th is always dedicated to the Virgin Pilar. Zaragoza’s famous Virgen del Pilar Cathedral sets the scene for a week of processions, including the offering of flowers and the offering fruits. Another tradition is las Vaquillas, in which anyone can try his or her hand at bullfighting, but unarmed and with young, small bulls. But El Pilar is not solely about tradition, it also hosts musical events with some of Spain’s most popular bands.

La Feria Abril

La Feria Abril is celebrated in Seville, welcoming the spring with flamenco, bullfighting and a general passion for partying. What once started as a simple cattle market is now a week long party celebrated two weeks after the end of Semana Santa (Holy Week). The 2010 will be held from April 20th to 25th.

La Tomatina is celebrated in Buñol, a small town outside Valencia, every last Wednesday of August, when thousands of people pack into the streets to hold one of the biggest food fights in the world, throwing thousands of tomatoes at each other. It is a weeklong festival that also offers dancing, music, parades and fireworks. On the night before the tomato throwing, it is customary to hold a paella cook off in the city.

Holy Week is one of Spain’s most important religious holidays. Although Holy Week is celebrated with religious processions throughout Spain, nowhere is it take more seriously than in Andalucia. Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada, Malaga, Cadiz, Almeria and Jerez de la Frontera have some of the most impressive Holy Week processions you will ever see. There are several processions each night of the week, and even non-Christians can’t help but marvel at their beauty.

Madrid Holidays

San Isidro

The fiestas de San Isidro begin on May 15th and last more than 20 days. San Isidro is the male patron saint of Madrid, and throughout the 20 days of festivities, the most important bullfights in the world take place in the Plaza de Ventas bullring. Other festivities associated with this holiday are local fairs, open-air concerts and local festive pilgrimages.

La Fiesta de la Paloma

La Fiesta de la Paloma is celebrated on August 15th, aside from the constant stream of street parties around the old quarter of Madrid, a statue of the virgin is taken throughout the city with the crowd cheering “guapa” (beautiful).