Spain is in no doubt the country of festivals, parties and celebrations and the people here definitely know how to have fun! That is why I find it hard to summarise my knowledge on this topic and the great experiences I have had in one single blog post. However, I will do my best to provide the reader of this article with a taste of some of the things that every visitor of Spain (and Valencia in particular) should see.
Light show and Halloween spirit in PortAventura
One of the first and most spectacular celebrations that I had the pleasure to attend was in the famous amusement park – PortAventura. It is only about an hour and a half away from Barcelona and I highly recommend it to all the adventurous souls out there. I was lucky to visit it in October, when the preparations for Halloween were in full swing and during the night there was a parade of people dressed up in all kinds of costumes. Here are some pictures of the decorations and the light show that took place after midnight:
Las Fallas de Valencia
This is probably one of the most famous festivals in Spain, which was included in the list of Intangible World Heritage by UNESCO in November 2016. The people from Valencia were so proud of this huge recognition that they decided to celebrate it with a lot of fireworks and a parade with “falleras” and “falleros”. The official celebrations for Las Fallas last for four days, from the 15th to the 19th March, and they attract people from all over the world. The mere scale of this festival means that it deserves a separate post. At this point I leave you with a picture taken during the November celebrations:
Dia de los Reyes Magos
El Dia de los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day) a Spanish Christmas tradition that is marked by huge, spectacular parades in every city, town or village of the country, no matter how big or small, where sweets and presents are given to all. Festivities officially start on the night of January 5th, when the Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos (Three Kings’ Parade) takes place in every town and city, with hundreds upon hundreds of people crowding the main roads in order to get a glimpse of the reenactment of the arrival of the Three Kings into town. Although I had read a lot about this tradition before I came to Spain, this year was the first time I had the chance to see it with my own eyes:
Two weeks ago some of my friends and I decided to immerse ourselves even more in the culture of Spain, so we took the train from Valencia to Sagunto to see one of the many bull-running festivals held across the country. I was amazed by the bravery of the men who were challenging these strong animals. It looked as if they were playing a game albeit a dangerous one. Most of the spectators stay in cages (like the one you will see on the pictures that follow) as a safety measure.
Festival of Saint Anthony, The Abbott
The last festival that I want to tell you about is very typical of a village called El Puig de Santa Maria and I found out about it completely by chance. My friends and I wanted to do a little Sunday road trip and one of them suggested going to this small town near Valencia, without having any idea that there is a special celebration there at that time. The Festival of Saint Anthony takes place each year on the second Sunday of February and it includes the blessing of local pets by the priest. This year there were many extremely beautiful horses. Although the pictures do not really do justice to the experience, I have put a few of the animals and one of me posing in front of the huge monastery of El Puig with my friends (as you can see we don’t miss the sun here :D):