Celebrated around the world, New Years Eve and New Years Day is no different in Spain and you will find many of the towns will offer something as the midnight hour approaches.
Towns will have stages set with live bands and entertainment and at Midnight, expect wonderful firework displays and lots of cheering. Celebrations will carry on well into the day of the 1st.
Enjoy on the evening of the 5th the colourful and festive THREE KINGS PARADE, the main day for the Spanish Christmas where you can follow the decorated floats carrying the Kings and their helpers with lots of sweets handed out to the crowds along the way. Traditionally, the children receive a gift from the Kings at the end of the parade. This happens in every town and village across Spain. A popular tradition is to eat a Roscón, a sweet, ring shaped cake covered in cherries and sugar. Traditionally, you will find a toy surprise hidden inside!! After the parades, the streets will be deserted as the families all rush home with their children to open the rest of the presents that the Kings have left them.
During mid to late February you will see many spectacular carnival festivals in and around the area, both Benidorm and Alicante are well known for these Mardi Gras style nights. It seems as though everyone gets dressed up in lavish costumes, old and young alike. Processions of floats accompanied by street entertainment, music and food stalls start at sundown and continue until the early morning.
The Carnivals, as around the world, mark the start of Lent, 40 days before Easter, which in Spain is known as Semana Santa. Why not join in the tradition of burying a sardine on Ash Wednesday, The Entierro de la Sardina, is the bizarre fish-burying festival that ends the carnival in Spain and is symbolic for the fasting and abstinence that follows in the period of lent.
On the 5th March, Benidorm celebrates the Virgen del Sufragio , Suffering Virgen. The story told is that in 1740 a shipwreck was found along the Poniente Beach with no survivors, the locals as with much of Europe at the time, were so afraid of the plague they decided to push the boat straight back out to sea and set it alight. A wooden statue of the Virgin Mary was found some days later by a child, undamaged by the flames. Celebrations are staged every year now, in fancy dress as locals re-enact the event. A ship sets sail with the statue and the local people are honored to be chosen to bring it back to shore again. Flowers are brought to the church and parades with marching bands can be seen in the old town of Benidorm on this day.
Originally this fiesta started in the City of Valencia and although many other towns and villages have followed the tradition, Valencia is still the place to visit to really appreciate this week long celebration.
Traditionally Fallas was a time, to mark the arrival of Spring, that the carpenters of the City literally did a spring clean of their workshops and put out into the street pieces of wood they no longer required and then set them alight. Nowadays, the street burnings are on a much grander scale and starts the week before with the display of hundreds of highly decorated and often satirical sculptures depicting Spanish and world events. Every day there is a special competition for mascletas, a prize for who can build the loudest single firework.
On the 19th these wonderful sculptures are burnt ceremoniously in the streets in front of crowds of people.
Other towns following this tradition include Benidorm, although not on the same scale, will display and then burn their statues.
During the week which is filled with processions and townspeople in traditional costumes, a huge wooden statue of the Virgin will be decorated with flowers.
A fiesta not to be missed.
There is much excitement leading up to the Easter parades that take place all across Spain, the most famous being in Andalucia but many other regions coming a close second. The Easter week and often the week prior, will be full of processions, church services, candlelit vigils and the carrying of statues through the towns. The local townspeople will be honored to be chosen to carry one of the statues through the town. Look out for the carrying of the crosses from the church, often big heavy structures with many of the young men and women deciding to be barefoot.
Be aware that for the weekend, many shops may be closed and some regions also celebrate this fiesta on the Thursday before Good Friday. Although a very religious festival there is still much frivolity and a party atmosphere to be had. Local town halls and tourist information offices will have itineraries of the events to be seen in the vicinity and it is well worth a visit. Always check your diaries when booking for Easter as of course the dates can vary year by year.
Just after Easter is one of Spain’s largest pilgrimages with thousands of people flocking to Alicante for Santa Faz. Follow the crowds through the streets of Alicante to the church of Santa faz on the outskirts between San Juan and Alicante. Enjoy the day with music, fairground attractions and lots of craft and art stalls.
On the 3rd May it is traditional in Benidorm to decorate the holy cross with beautiful flowers as a tribute to Saint Helena who, travelled to Jerusalem in search of the true cross on which Jesus died. Holy processions will take place throughout the streets with the carrying of an abundance of flowers to the churches. Many parties will be held with live music to dance the night away.
During May, why not take part in the Snail festival. Spain and particularly the region of Cataluña consider snails to be a delicacy and the Snail Festival is a way of celebrating this tasty morsel buried in its shell. Many people will gather snails after a short spell of rain and use them in wonderful stews and paellas. It is traditional to have several glasses of sherry while enjoying this culinary delight.
This month is always a great month, the sun shines for endless hours and the sea is warm for swimming. The Spanish people like to celebrate this with the fiesta of San Juan and where better to celebrate than having a party on the beach and to enjoy a night full of fire, music, dance, good food, good wine and of course fireworks.
This festival takes place during the shortest night of the year and in towns and cities alike bonfires are kept burning throughout the night and the whole day before is spent on preparing the wood and the fire.
Tradition has it that you must jump over the fire 3 times at midnight and then walk backwards into the sea to be cleansed and purified and then your problems washed away.
All along the coastline of the Costa Blanca you will see fires burning, a great evening to take the coastal train for a great view.
On the 16th July, head to one of the port towns, Benidorm, Villajoyosa or Benidorm where the day will be spent to celebrate the Virgen Carmen. Beautiful floral tributes and processions fill the town streets where the local fishermen will then take out their boats. From the shore you see a beautiful spectacle of small boats full of colourful flowers which are then thrown into the water in remembrance for all that have lost their lives to the waters.
The effigy of the Virgin will also be carried through the streets by the townspeople. The San Jaime church in Benidorm, on the headland at the old town, easily recognizable by its blue roof, was built between 1740 and 1780 after the earlier discovery of the Virgin del Suffrage. Inside the church lies a statue of the Virgin who has her own chapel there which can be visited.
July is also a famous month for the San Fermín festival with the famous running of the bulls through the narrow streets. Although Benidorm and the nearby towns do not celebrate this, you will see people originally from this area wearing their white clothes with their red neckerchief. You may find them on the beaches where you will be invited to taste their wines and food from the Pamplona region. The town of Calpe and Denia however will let some bulls run loose through the town towards the sea – visit at your peril !
Celebrated every year is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary which commemorates the death of Mary and her bodily assumption into Heaven. This is really a Catholic Church Holy Day rather than a party for all.
There are no fiestas to be noted in August. Benidorm and other town Councils however, each year arrange a host of cultural and artistic events. Live music concerts can be found on most nights around towns and particularly to be found in the Aiguera Park auditoriums in Benidorm.
August is just a great month with long hot days and short hot nights therefore treat yourself to a break in this month and just plan to laze and swim, laze and swim!
This month the Costa Blanca starts to mark the arrival of Autumn although you wouldnever believe it with the great temperatures and full sunshine that we still enjoy.
Harvest Festivals are celebrated this month all across Spain and are particularly wellnoted with the grape harvest festivals which signals the end of the growing season andmany bodegas and wine making companies in the area will celebrate their produce. Itgives us all a chance to visit and see some of the tasks involved in making this muchenjoyed beverage. So pop along to one of the many vineyards and take part in thetreading and tasting and many other events that will be on offer.
In this region of the Valencian Communidad, the 9th of the month is the day that iscelebrated to mark the birth of the autonomous region. It dates back to 1238 when KingJames I took the City freeing it from the Moors.
This day is a public holiday throughout the region with many shops, banks andsupermarkets closed.
The 9th is also the day of St Dyonisius, the equivalent of Valentines day in Spain.Traditionally the men give the women a bundle of marzipan sweets wrapped up in ahandkerchief.
October is a great month for the Spanish people when they celebrate El Día de laHispanidad which is a national holiday on 12th. The day is to commemorate the datethat Christopher Columbus first set his foot on the Americas.
Throughout Spain there will be military led celebrations particularly in Madrid. The redand yellow flags will be flying throughout Spain to celebrate this special day and you willfind lots of celebrations, perhaps live music or special dinners on offer. Join in the funand wear red and yellow to.
The first of the month is a Spanish bank holiday known as Todos Los Santos. AllSaints Day is a family day of reflection and celebration and a time to remember thosewho have passed on.
Many people will attend church on this day and then visit the cemetries with flowersand offerings. Afterwards the mood changes and becomes more upbeat with afamily meal and traditional foods.
We cannot leave out the huge Benidorm Fiesta’s that also take place this month.There is a course a reason for holding a week long noisy party and it is to celebratethe Suffering Virgin and San Jaime Apostle.
There is a party atmosphere throughout the town with many stages set up for livemusic, people walking around in their traditional dress, dancing, fireworks and bandsparading in the streets. There is the Correfoc, not for the faint hearted, watch andrun with the “devils” through the narrow cobbled streets with their bangers andFireworks. On the final night is a fantastic display of Fireworks from the beach butthis can be seen from all over the town.
Constitution Day is another public holiday all over Spain and celebrates the anniversaryof a referendum held in 1978 which was an important step in Spain's transition tobecoming a constitutional monarchy and democracy. You may not find parties andfireworks but a day for people to enjoy with friends and family.
The Immaculate Conception is a holy day in which you can attend special churchservices and begin the run up to the Christmas holidays. Although the origins of thecelebration are religious it is a popular time for feasting and partying as well as givingthe prayers to Mother Mary.
Is there a better way of spending Christmas than on one of the glorious beaches of theCosta Blanca??
More so now but originally not a day for the giving of presents, the Spanish families leftthis for Kings Day . The 24th night is family time where extended families will gather andenjoy good food, wine and company. The day of the 25th can also be more of a family daythan one of celebration and noise. With sunny days still the norm, many families willtake to the promenades for their walk or paseo, dressed in their finery for all to enjoy.