Spain is a country full of quaint customs, traditions & fiestas.
In the north of Spain, burly men lift heavy granite stones and test their lumberjack skills, whilst in the Catalonia region, human castles are built to see who can get the highest structure.
Each town and city has its own particular custom or tradition so it is always interesting to visit the local tourism office to find out a little about the place you are in and what’s interesting.
Moros y Cristianos
The Christians and Moors fiestas of Guardamar take place from the 25th of July and an amazing spectacle of light, colour and passion that fills a whole week of festivites, commemorating the invasion and expulsion of the Mores from Guardamar.
Its origins are profoundly religious but as time has gone by the festivity has taken on a theatrical tone with different acts being carried out on different days within a timeline that always ends with the Christian victory.
The Moors and Christian festivities have been celebrated over the last three centuries. They depict the battles that went on between moors and Christians during the 8th to the 15th century and their struggles to conquer Spain or to keep the invader out of their borders,. That period of Spain’s history has been called the “Reconquista”.
After a long day of battling, the towns people go to the traditional casetas and this is when serious celebrating begins, topped off by concerts and dancing long into the early hours.
Before Lent commences the festivity of Carnaval is held. Nowadays this event has very little religious significance and is just a great excuse to get dressed up and have a fun time. Both adults and children take part in the carnavals although it is the children that are the most important part of this event.
Semana Santa – Easter Week
The religious significance of this week is just as important for the Spanish as is Christmas. Catholicism may not be as strong as it was it times past but still has a major place in much of society. Most cities hold daily processions during the week with carved statues of the different characters that took part in the events that are represented in the Stations of the Cross.
In many towns, such as Guardamar, it is normal that children receive sweets from the participants of the procession as they go by even though it is meant to be a sombre event.
In many towns of the province of Alicante this festivity is probably the most important although it is the capital, Alicante, where the main part of this fiesta takes place. Hogueras originates from the burning of all those bad things that we have overcome or do not want to have in the future and so on the night of St. John (San Juan or Summer Solstice) fires are burnt on the beach and large carton statues are burnt in celebration of the partly pagan festivity.
Other fiestas that may be of interest are:
Held in Valencia, much like Hogueras in Alicante…just a lot bigger!
Held in Pamplona in July, one big party just watch out for the bulls.
In the north of the province of Valencia, this fiesta is held in the summer and it’s about throwing tomatoes at each other just for the fun of it.