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Spain’s best local parties and events (part 1)

I’m pretty sure that even without having ever visited Spain, you’re familiar with the term “fiesta”.

Flamenca ©Limbyungjei

You can use the word fiesta for any party, but it usually refers to a large feast, festival, or very extravagant party. In Spanish, fiesta means “feast,” and in many Spanish-speaking places, a fiesta celebrates a saint’s day or other religious occasion. The word comes from the Latin festus, “festive, joyful, or merry.”

The Spaniards need little prompting to enjoy themselves and regularly take to the streets to go for a drink or to participate in big parties and events organized throughout the whole year. As a result, it’s widely known that Spain is synonymous with fun and fiestas, and it is true that this part of the Iberian Peninsula is home to some crazy and worth attending festivals.

If you’re one of those people appreciating and enjoying a good party- especially a local/cultural one- then keep reading cause in this page we’ve prepared a list worth adding to your agenda. In order to help you plan your perfect itinerary while visiting Spain, here is a glimpse of the country’s best-known events and local parties that shouldn’t be missed! Ready to explore them all?

San Sebastian day; the Tamborrada Drum Parade

The Tamborrada in San Sebastian is probably Spain’s loudest event. It takes place on January 20th at midnight, when crowds pack the Constitution Square and the city’s mayor raises the city’s flag; from that moment a 24hour non-stop drumming officially begins. Thousands of people attend this event every year regardless of the cold weather and the rain. The event itself is said to be dating back a several hundred years to the time of the Peninsular War when Napoleon’s troops took over San Sebastian and a large portion of the city was burned to the ground. All the while, French troops marched around the city, banging on their drums. Nowadays, it is a celebration of identity during which the crowds cheer for overcoming tragedy, uniting and finding happiness.

San Sebastian day; the Tamborrada Drum Parade

The big Carnival; Cadiz and Tenerife

Cadiz, Andalusia’s jewel, can proudly claim to have the oldest carnival celebrations on mainland Spain. In fact, it dates back to the 16th century and is said to be influenced by the carnival in Venice, which was a trading partner of Cadiz at the time. Nowadays, a riot of colors, floats, processions, fireworks and other entertainment, guarantee a unique Carnival experience not to be missed!

Tenerife’s carnival

Tenerife’s carnival on the other side, is the most “Brazilian” of all the Spanish carnivals, famous all over the world for its popular flavor. For fifteen days, the streets of the city come alive with freedom and extravagance, rhythm, color, flamboyance, luxury and of course, some of the most brilliant spectacles.

Valencia’s Fallas

Every March, Valencia prepares to welcome the Spring. The streets fill up with joy and the Fallas festival takes place for 3 full days. Displayed on every corner all over the city, colorful ninots, giant paper-mâché figures -often 20 feet tall or even more- parade through the streets. Each one in some way satirizes political figures, soap opera stars, TV and sports idols, or simply creatures of imagination. Some of them are grotesque while others playful and charming. It all started back in the Middle Ages when carpenters used to hang up planks of wood called ‘parots’ in the winter to support their candles when they were working. At the onset of spring, these pieces of wood would be burned as a way of celebrating the end of dark, winter working days.

Valencia’s Fallas

Seville’s Feria

It’s said to be Spain’s most colorful party; full of joy, flowers, and dances! One of the most famous in all of Spain, Seville’s April Fair, is one of the things definitely worth noting down when planning a visit to the Andalusian capital! There is something special about starting Spring with a huge party complete with beautiful dresses, tradition, food, and drink… isn’t there?

Seville’s April Fair

San Isidro Celebrations in Madrid

Every year in mid-May, Madrid honors its patron saint, San Isidro, with a full schedule of events. In fact, the festival announces the onset of the Spring. The city’s festivities last for 5 days including costume parades, musical concerts, dancing and activities involving children too. During the festival, women, and men get dressed in the traditional costume of Madrid and locals engage in dancing and performing a typical regional dance, known as Chotis. Free activities for all the family are hosted in different spots across the city.

San Isidro Celebrations in Madrid

…liked what you read?

Stay tuned — part two is about to be released soon and we’re pretty sure that you will have to take notes! Amazing fiestas and colorful celebrations are waiting to be visited… After all, Spain with or without its fiestas can always guarantee a unique traveling experience!

ITAV: fun, quick, local. Let’s go.

Your Traveler Enjoyment Team

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Chrisa Lepida

Chrisa Lepida

Freelance content creator & New Media Master’s graduate with a passion for traveling, psychology, social media & yoga :D

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