5 Fiestas You Didn’t Know In Spain
…You needed to party at before you die.
Forget “La Tomatina” and “San Fermin” (Running of the Bulls), here are 5 Spanish fiesta’s you probably didn’t know existed – but that you must visit during your time on earth.
1. Las Fallas – Valencia, Spain
Las Fallas, translating roughly to “The Torches” in Valencian, is one of the brightest and hottest festivals that Spain has to offer – literally. The festival spans over five days and five nights, leading up to the burning of the “fallas” – enormous constructions made from paper, wax, wood and styrofoam that take local artists, sculptors and painters months to build. These are often inspired by anyone who has drawn the critical eye of the ‘falleros’ (see: partying Spaniards). Past structures have included George W Bush in 2005 and Lady Gaga in 2012. The finished products are vivid, fanciful monuments that rise 30 metres into the air. Drinking, dancing and good food is of course an integral part of the festivities, but the grand finale comes on the last night, the ‘La Crema’. Here, the fallas are burned to the ground in a dazzling display of flames, while the streets they illuminate become an all night open-air party.
2. Sitges Carnivale – Sitges, Cataluyna, Spain
The Sitges Carnival is essentially Spain’s answer to Mardi Gras but… better. Hosted by the picturesque and very gay seaside town of Sitges, just an hour outside of Barcelona, the festival attracts everyone from local Catalans to tourists who have wandered up on the train, looking for a lesson in how to party with pride. Extravagant floats parade down the streets, while people spill out of restaurants and bars, drink in hand, to soak up the electric atmosphere.
3. San Vino – Haro, Spain
A cultural calamity of epic proportions; the bloodthirsty battle where people and wine collide in a glorious, drunken mess on the grassy hills surrounding tiny Haro, somewhere in north Spain’s golden heart. Believe the rumours – there is no mercy at San Vino; for one morning only, this sleepy town comes alive for a ruthless battle that takes no prisoners. It is crazy, wild, perfect mayhem – and once the madness is over you will not be drinking red wine for a very, very long time. It’s worth it though.
4. Semana Grande – San Sebastian, Basque Country
Typically known for it’s pintxos and surf scene, once a year San Sebastian also plays host to an international fireworks competition. At its core, the ‘Semana Grande’ is a weeklong celebration of all things awesome. There’s swimming races, beach volleyball tournaments, discos, fire bulls and a lot of alcohol. Oh and a pyrotechnic competition. Yes, you read that correctly. ‘Immersed’ really is a wanky word – but when you’re staring up at the sky as it lights up with fiery bursts of red, yellow and white and with little Basque children run around your feet screaming in delight… you can’t help but let yourself be. ~ video
5. La Fiesta de la Vendimia – Requenia, Spain
During the last days of August, a little village, about an hour from Valencia, celebrates its grape harvest. Local orchestras take celebrants on tours around the village and as they follow behind, inhabitants of the surrounding houses throw water from their balconies. Villagers run around beneath screaming “Agua, Agua, Agua” and chanting the opening chords to “Seven Nation Army”. Why? Nobody really knows. They just do. Stationed throughout the village are trucks that hold gigalitres of wine. Punters desperately pass up cups, water guns and other weaponry with which to soak the people around them in red wine. Don’t wear a white shirt. Or do. It’s your life. ~ video