Attending (or participating in) a festival is a great way to experience the culture of Spain with the locals. Festivals are not only fun, but are an excellent way for tourists and locals to immerse themselves in the history of Spain. Here is a list of some festivals which are Spanish traditions.
La Batalla del Vino en Haro, La Rioja – “The Battle of Wine” takes place on June 29th in La Rioja wine region. This tradition evolved from wine baptisms to a wine battle in the 20th century. To participate, one must be completely dressed in while with a red handkerchief around the neck. After attending mass for the Feast of San Juan, San Felices and San Pedro, participants hike up the Riscos de Bilibio. Wine is thrown from plastic jugs and containers (plastic only, for safety reasons) and even shot from water guns, until everyone’s clothes are a shade of purple. The battle ends at noon for lunch, and the party continues back in the village with music, dancing and vendors. And more wine!
El Cascamorras en Guadix y Baza, Granada – This festival occurs from September 6 – 9. Locals paint themselves black and run through the streets of first Baza, then Guadix. Back in the 15th century, the two villages had a dispute over a religious statue that was found. A Guadix village worker agreed that if he could make it through the streets of Baza to Guadiz and remain clean, then the statue would be guarded by his hometown. People threw all kinds of liquids at the worker, and in Guadiz, people through things at him because he lost.
Nocheviaje en Agosto en Bérchules, Granada – Back in 1993, a blackout prevented New Year’s Eve from being celebrated. It was moved to August, and the festival lasts all night, complete with carols, treats, the Magi and the taking of twelve grapes.
La Guerra del Merengue en San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa – This festival is based on a movie that two pastry chefs saw, this festival began in 2012 and occurs in August. Also known as “The Merengue War,” hundreds of children arm themselves and throw merengue at each other, with the winners in different age categories based on the person who stays the cleanest.
La Danza de la Muerte en Verges, Girona – “The Dance of Death” takes place during the Easter Holiday. Virges is located near the Costa Brava in Catalonia. It is celebrated on Easter Thursday, with villagers dressing up as skeletons carrying scythes, clocks and ashes as they walk in a procession through the village to the beat of drums. It symbolizes the final judgment after death, and whether one moves to heaven, purgatory or hell.
If you want to have fun while learning about the local history of Spain, please be sure to attend, and join, one (or all) of these festivals. Not only will you have a great time, but you will get to experience the culture and history of Spain.