There are lots of festivals going on all over Spain at various times of the year and all kinds of things get celebrated, blessed, and commemorated. In every Spanish city, town and village there s a fiesta of some sort, join in and party with the local people and have lots of fun.
Most countries have a particular quirky festival or celebration that is unique to them and fascinating or just plain weird to an outsider, and Spain is no exception. The Tomatina Tomato Fight takes place in Buņol, Valencia at the end of August and has to be the most famous fun festival in the country with thousands of people throwing soft, ripe vegetables at each other. A traditional event everyone joins in from the young and old and it s a lot of fun. There s a whole timetable of events apart from just throwing tomatoes! Shin up a greasy pole and compete with other tourists or Spaniards to be the first to reach the top and win the prize ham tied there.
Maybe not completely strange, especially for us animal lovers, but still a little eccentric is the San Anton Festival in Madrid where you ll find a number of pets and their owners heading to church to have their pets blessed. If you re just here on vacation you don t need a dog to join in the fun, just watch the parade of people arriving with their cats, dogs, or pet pig! Quite a sight to see they get a personal blessing from the priest before holy water is sprinkled on their heads then join the walk of the saint procession through the district of Chueca.
Anyone who has been to the Pamplona Running of the Bulls will know just how crazy it can get, a frenzied experience it starts the night before with a firework display then follow the Spaniards heading to Plaza Castillo to listen to live music and street musicians. As it goes on until 8 in the morning you ll be lucky to find anywhere to just sit and relax for a while until you get your breath back! If you intend on staying in the city for a few days then it s advised to reserve your holiday apartment before you travel as most will be booked well in advance, and if you really want to be able to sleep that night then find one that s not directly in the city centre.
Running with the nudes is an activist group keen to highlight the cruelty of bullfighting and urge people to stay away from the Running of the Bulls and the bullfights that follow. They do this by running through the streets of Pamplona with little more than a red scarf and plastic horns to keep warm, and lying naked and bloodied with banderillas in their backs. People from all over the world join in the run and show the city that it doesn t need to torture animals for tourism.
The Festival of Devils, or La Endiablada as it is known locally, is a real weird fiesta to check out if you re in the area of Almonacid del Marquesado, Cuenca in February. Dating from the 13th century it celebrates the Purification of the Virgin Mary, honours the towns patron saint San Blas , and celebrates the Day of San Blas with parade s, colourful hats and masks, leather harnesses and cowbells. Only men born in the town are allowed to join the brotherhood and so the only ones who can take part, everyone else comes along to watch as the men, led by the Head Devil, go about town dressed up as devils.
Rental apartments when taking a city break often offer good deals and discounts meaning rooms in stylish and fashionable locations are affordable. A great option if you re visiting with the family as most of the city s sights are located within walking distance.