You’ve got to hand it to the Spanish people – if someone knows how to party, it’s them! In terms of colorful parades and vibrant fiestas, this is a notorious country, and travelers from all over the world are picking up on it. Some of the most peculiar traditions in the world are maintained and cherished by the Spanish people. Some of them are crazy, some are dangerous, some are outright funny! And if you’re not quite sure what we mean, this post will show you.
Running of the Bulls
This is probably one of the most popular Spanish street fiestas, although it’s also one of the most controversial. The running of the bulls takes place every year in Pamplona (from July 6-14), in the context of the week-long festival of Sanfermines. In a nutshell, it’s all about running from a group of around one dozen bulls, which are let loose on the city streets.f Crazy, wild, and… according to the locals – incredibly fun! Anyone who’s older than 18 is allowed to participate in this unnerving parade, so if you feel like having a unique experience, feel free to join in!
Feria de Abril
Substantially less dangerous than the running of bulls but still quite exciting is the “Féria de Abril”, also known as the Seville Fair. Usually taking place two weeks after the Easter, this is yet another week-long fiesta (can you spot a pattern here?) that offers a taste of the joyous Spanish spirit. Asides from eating all kinds of delicious food and exploring the colorful tiendas, you will surely be impressed with the Flamenco performances flooding the streets during this time. Everyone sings and prances around, and all the ladies wear traditional flamenco style dresses… a sight to behold, and dance too!
If you’d rather watch from the sidelines than taking part in the actual action, then Los Castellers is perfect for you. Also known as Catalonia’s human towers, this is a popular tradition in the region of Catalonia, where many dozens of folks literally stack on top of each other to create a towering display of team work. Sometimes reaching as many as 10 levels of height, this is something you’ll easily be impressed with. No worries though… there’s a lot of preparation and training backstage, to ensure no participant gets hurt.
For those who are fans of percussion, drumming, or who just have a thing for really loud noises — La Tamborrada should make for a perfect holiday. Taking place every year one the 20th January, this festivity lasts for 24 hours straight. During this time (day and night) the city of San Sebastian is flooded by people carrying drums of every kind and making an unbelievable heart-pounding ruckus. With some interesting traditional rhythms and a widespread sense of freedom and enjoyment, this is a highly recommendable fiesta. You may want to take some ear plugs with you though – just in case the noise gets beyond your comfort level.
In terms of sheer fun and silliness, La Tomatina is arguably the most awesome of all Spanish celebrations. To put it bluntly, it’s a city-wide tomato fight, where everyone is encouraged to vent out their stress and frustrations by tossing tomatos at… everyone else. La Tomatina takes place in the town of Buñol (Valencia) every year, in the last Wednesday of August. If you’re fussy about getting your clothes messy, you should probably clear away from this festival. If you can see the fun potential of tossing tomatoes at random strangers though, then by all means – jump in and have fun!
Sounds pretty fun, doesn’t it? And if you would like to experience some of these festivities personally, then you might as well look into booking some cheap holidays in spain and get ready for the time of your life! Olé!