Spanish Festivals

La Tomatina, Buñol - Spanish Festival

Once a year the small town of Buñol outside of Valencia becomes home to the world's largest tomato puree. On the last Wednesday of August each year Buñol hosts La Tomatina, a tomato throwing festival of epic proportions.

La Tomatina is part of a week long celebration to honour Buñol's patron saint, and in the week leading up to the fight the town celebrates with parades, fireworks, and street parties. Twenty thousand people take part in the tomato throwing frenzy and they use around 150,000 tomatoes.

In the scheme of things La Tomatina is actually quite an orderly food fight. The throwing can only occur between 11am and 1pm, and tomatoes must be adequately squished before throwing (to prevent bruising). The town puts together makeshift public showers by the river so those involved can wash off afterwards - and the streets are cleaned immediately so by late afternoon there's no trace of the mess.


For more detail on festivals in Spain by season consider www.gospain.org on their page dedicated to fiestas - here.

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Fiesta de San Fermin, Pamplona - Spanish Festival

The most famous part of the San Fermin festival, held annually in the town of Pamplona, is the running of the bulls. The running of the bulls is held each morning of the week-long festival, from July 7 to 14. At 8am thousands of people from around the world run in front of the bulls as they are let loose to run the 800 metres from their pen to the bull ring.

It's a marvellous sight and a unique event but the running of the bulls has had its casualties - 14 deaths have been attributed to the event since records started to be kept in 1924. Dozens more people are injured by trampling or goring by the bulls as they run the cobbled streets.

The rest of the San Fermin festival includes fireworks, parades, dances and religious ceremonies, celebrating the saint who has relics resting in Pamplona.

Fiesta de Las Fallas, Valencia - Spanish Festival

Valencia's biggest annual festival occurs in March each year, and it's a vibrant, bright, and extremely noisy week of festivities honouring the city's patron saint, Saint Joseph.

On the last evening of the week long festival huge papier-mache caricatures of Spanish celebrities, some over 30 feet high, are set on fire. They're stuffed with fireworks for a bit of extra oomph and the streets of Valencia blaze on the night of March 19th. This fiery festivals attracts around two million visitors to the region and hundreds of the Valencian fire service - on hand in case any of the effigies burn out of control.

San Isidro, Madrid - Spanish Festival

The festival of San Isidro occurs during May and honours Saint Isidore, one of Madrid's patron saints. San Isidro attracts scores of visitors to the city as it is renowned as the most important bullfighting festival in the world. The festival officially runs from May 8-15, and has done since 1947, and the bullfighting at the Las Ventas stadium is pretty hard to miss as it's televised in locations throughout the city.

If bullfighting's not your thing, the San Isidro festival also boasts plenty of cultural activities like rock, classic and jazz music, dancing, singing and street parties. Many residents of Madrid will also dress up in traditional folk costumes.

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