Over 3,000 fiestas are celebrated every year in Andalucia - fairs, carnivals, wine tasting of the year, this year's sausage, plays, pilgrimages and processions. Each village, however small, hold at least one fiesta each year. Whatever the reason for the fiesta, be it religious or otherwise, the end result is always the same - lots of music and dancing, drinking and eating and general fun. Normally until dawn over a period of several days to a week.
In addition to the list of activeties below, see also:
Digame is a community notice board / newsletter for English speaking residents of the Axarquia region of Andalucia, Spain.
JANUARY - APRIL
Absolutely perfect for hiking and adventure in Andalusia's largest national park, which you have in the backyard!!! You can start from Canillas de Aceituno and you go up against La Axarquia highest peak, La Maroma, 2,065 meters. If you are lucky you may meet wild mountain goats, which still survives in the heights. You can also take a ride on a mountain bike and enjoy the many beautiful cycling routes available that are nearby. But otherwise the long spring is just perfect for being outside and reading a book on the terrace or sit in a café and enjoy life.
All listed times are approximate and may vary from year to year.
6. Fiesta de los tres Reyes Magos / Epiphany / Twelfth Night / Festival of the Three holy Kings
Fiesta de los Tres Reyes Magos is held 12 days after Christmas. This is when the Spanish children receive their Christmas gifts. Three men riding in parade on horse or mule, through the city and spreads sweets to excited children. Celebrating when the three holy men came with gifts for the baby jesus. To ensure good Christmas presents, Spanish children sometimes writes letters to the kings. The same way as other children write to Santa Claus.
17. La fiesta de San Antón / Fiesta of San Anton / Fest for helgen St. Antón
San Antón is the protector of animals, often depicted with a pig at his side. He lived a secluded life in the desert in the 3rd century, and the only thing he ate was bread. In memory effect exists los panecillos tradition. People take their pets along to the church where the priest blesses the animals, people buy small bread los panecillos de San Antón. This fiesta is celebrated in Canillas de Albaida, Nerja, Salares and Sedella.
20. La fiesta de San Sebastian / Fiesta of St. Sebastian / fest for helgen San Sebastian
According to legend, Sebastian was an officer in the Emperor Diocletian's bodyguard and secretly a Christian. When this was revealed in 286, Sebastian was sentenced to death and pierced with arrows. But a widow nursed him back to life. The emperor condemned him to death again, this time to be killed by beating. Sebastian, tied naked to a tree, a pole or pillar and pierced with arrows, was a popular motif in painting and sculpture in the Renaissance. This fiesta is celebrated in Alcaucin, Algarrobo, Benamargosa, Competa and Frigiliana.
15. Nirvana Day / Buddha goes to Nirvana
On this day, many Buddhists celebrate the Buddha renounced his worldly life and went to Nirvana. This is a good time to visit the Buddhist stupa, located a short distance from Canillas de Aceituno. See detailed info on the Buddhist stupa in the section on area attractions.
21. Karnelval de Canillas de Aceituno / Carnival
The most important carnival in Spain and one of the largest in the world, is Carnival de Santa Cruz de Tenerife (second only to Rio de Janeiro) and the Carnival de Cadiz. These carnival attracts each year attracts thousands of people from around the world. In the U.S., this party is named Mardi Gras, which means fat Tuesday, the day before Lent. Sometimes also called "Pancake Day". This feast is on the border between winter and spring, and has also historically been a party to celebrate the victorious spring. Since the masks and costumes for a time erased the social divisions in society, the peasant could sit at same table as the count - or be in the same bed. Frolic was a big part of carnival time, which seemed like a valve in a life marked by strict rules and hard work. Carnivals were only for adults. It is only recently that the carnival was the children's party. Today, carnival is celebrated with parades, costumes, beat the cat of the barrel, etc.
22. Miércoles de Ceniza / Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday starts the Christian Lent, which preferably is celebrated by Catholics. Ash Wednesday falls on Wednesday after Carnival Sunday. The peak at Ash Wednesday Mass is when the congregation at the altar are painted a cross on the forehead with ashes or get sprinkled ashes in your hair. The ashes come from the previous year's Palm Sunday palm branches, symbolizing man's transience and calls for repentance. Also the ashes are a sign of Easter (the legend of the phoenix arising from its own ashes.)
1. St. David’s Day
St. David's Day is Wales' national day, when their patron saint St. David is celebrated. Outside Wales, it is a celebration of Wales and what comes out of Wales. Ergo, you will almost certainly be able to experience some fun-loving people from Wales, especially if I go to the coast, or one of the mountain villages where there are traditionally many guests from Great Britain - eg. Competa.
17. St. Patrick´s Day
St. Patrick is Ireland's patron saint and National Day. Irishmen throughout the world and partying with beer and music. Ergo, you will almost certainly be able to experience some fun-loving people of Ireland if you go to the coast, or one of the mountain villages where there are traditionally many guests from Great Britain - eg. Competa.
18. Día de la Madre / Mother's Day
Mother's Day are held in Spain on the first Sunday in May. The day was invented in the U.S. in 1872 by women's activist Julia Ward Howe. Originally it was thought that the day would also be a day of peace. But another woman (Anna Jarvis) received widespread awareness of the day, initially to honor her own mother - but eventually also for the general honoring all mothers work.
20. Equinoccio de Primavera / Spring Equinox
Day and night are now of equal length. It is around this time that we must set the clock forward one hour.
Semana Santa / Easter
Celebrated during the week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Numerous processions compete with each other in splendor. At the huge "tronos" stands statues of Jesus or the Virgin Mary. They show individual scenes of the events that happened in Jesus' life in the Easter days. The procession is followed by the entire village, incense and candles. Easter Week is where the Christian recalls Jesus' death and resurrection. It is therefore a period of intense liturgical activity within the various Christian faiths. Beginning on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday.
The last Sunday in april / Blood Sausage-fest (Dia de la Morcilla / Pudding Day)
Thousands of visitors from throughout the region will, over the weekend, filling the town hall square and several of the smaller side streets. They are expected to eat more than 300 kg of blood sausage, served free to all. In addition, several of the specialties that are so typical for this region. It all washed down with local sweet wine or beer. Blood sausage is produced here are very famous and known far beyond the city limits. Year-round comes mainly Spaniards from all over Andalusia, to buy the delicious sausage with them. Blood sausage is a special and very distinctive taste, which is partly due to the spices but also sausage ripening and storage. Serve it cold, it is considered as an exquisite and delicious snack or tapas. Besides goodies, presented at a variety of entertainment. There will be activities for kids, music and dance throughout the day, and the citys virgin Virgin de la Cabeza is celebrated and honored.
MAY - AUGUST
1. Día del Trabajador / Labour Day
Originally a day where it was mandatory for the working people to go out and celebrate his joy in work. In ancient Russia they held mighty parades. Nowadays it is in Spain, as in the rest of the world - mostly one day where you take time off from work or school and relax.
12. La Noche en Blanco / The white night
La Noche a Blanco takes place in Malaga. Directly translated, it means White Night, but the other meaning in Spanish is a night without sleep. More than 150 different cultural activities, private and public, held during this Saturday night. The whole center involved, museums and art galleries are open, and in the streets and squares, there is also something to behold.
Romeria / Religious pilgrimage
The meaning of the word Romaria is "Those who travel to Rome." It is a Catholic celebration, which consist of a trip (in cars, on horseback, or on foot), which ends in a sanctuary or Hermitage. The hoorses and cars are decorated with flowers, and women are in dresses and men wears their finest outfit. So they sit on these wagons, horses, and drink and eat and enjoy themselves, while the buckles off against, for example the old football field, or any other destination - typically 4-5 km outside the city.
Romeria in Canillas de Aceituno is celebrated around May 15, but generally there are very many romerias in Andalusia and Spain. Examples could include the Virgen de la Cabeza - which is considered the oldest Romería in Spain. Here the pilgrimage in an approximately 33 km. long trip to the Virgen de la Cabeza - you go in the Sierra de Andujar Natural Park and is very beautiful. This festival held the last Sunday in april, and is regarded as being of national tourist interest. Romeria in Nerja. Another interesting Romeria is held in Nerja. Here hurls an impressive procession up from the coastal town of Nerja and up to the stalactite caves in the small town of Maro. Romeria in Ronda. Finally may be mentioned that the annual romeria in town Ronda tend to be very nice and picturesk.
The first full moon in May / Vesak Day / Buddhas birth
The most important Buddhist festival is Vesak Day, which celebrates Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death on the same day. This day is celebrated on many different dates depending on the local Buddhist tradition. Often celebration in connection with the first full moon in May. This is a good time to visit the Buddhist stupa, located a short distance from Canillas de Aceituno.
23. Fiesta de San Juan / Summer solstice / The shortest night of the year / Midsummer
St. Hans is most celebrated in the Nordic and Baltic countries, where the characteristic light Nordic night, gives the optimal conditions for a beautiful experience. In Andalucia celebrate different variants of what we know as St. Hans. In the town of Vejer de la Frontera they have a local tradition called the "bull of fire" which consists of a bull made out of fireworks and fire. In other cities in Andalusia they have fireworks, bonfire and hold a major or minor party when it is midsummer. In the town of Lanjaron they use this time to have their annual basis San Juan Water festival (La Fiesta del Agua), which lasts about 3-5 days, depending on the planned activities. The central event is open race where all sprints through the streets and all sprays water at each other - That is a counterpart to the tradition of the Thai New Year (Songkran) where you have tremendous fun water games. These San Juan Water festivals are also held in some towns on the coast. A tradition is to swim in the sea just after midnight. Bathing at that time also said to be beneficial for skin diseases. Wash your face and feet three times to be awarded three wishes, and for a happy year.
16. Virgen del Carmen / Nuestra Señora del Monte Carmelo / Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Mount Carmel is 552 m high and located in Israel at the port city of Haifa. Here, some French hermits in 1200 founded the Carmelite order and lived a secluded and simple life. From the Holy Land spread the order over Europe. They revere especially the Virgin Mary, who among them is called the "Madonna del Carmine", where Carmine stands for Carmelo - Mount Carmel in Palestine where the order originated. "Virgen del Carmen" is celebrated on 16 July in honor of the Virgin Mary, according to legend gave the brown scapular to a Carmelite munk in the year 1251 - Skapular (scapula: Latin for shoulder) - is a garment consisting of two rectangular pieces of cloth of brown woolen cloth, which are attached together by two bands and worn over the shoulders. On one piece of clothing is a picture of Christ and the second one of the Madonna del Carmine. According to legend, said the Virgin Mary when she transferred the scapular to the monk "Whoever dies wearing this, you will not go to Hell. It is a symbol of salvation, a protection against danger and a promise of peace." Festival celebrated in Caleta de Velez, Nerja, Rincon de la Victoria, Torre del Mar & Torrox Costa.
Feria / Town festivals in Andalusia
Each town and village in Andalucia has its own festival that can last from 3 days to a week. These festivals are called Feria, typically followed by the name of the town's patron saint - For example, Canillas the Acveituno calls their festival: Feria de la Virgen de la Cabeza. These ferias usually put their cities on the other end - the whole city is filled with scenes, carousels, etc. and through the days where feria takes place there is entertainment in the form of music, dance, fireworks and more. Often the party goes on late into the night and in the morning you will be awakened by the loud noise of fireworks designed to scare the evil spirits away. These ferias take place throughout the period after Easter to oktober. So if you miss one feria, there's probably another next week, just in another village. Canillas de Aceituno has their feria the second weekend in august.
Vendimias / Grape harvest
Celebrated at the end of august and september. The event is often accompanied by a fiesta. Look for advertised that advertise for "Night of wine" and the like.
15. Asunción de María / Virgin Mary Heaven journey
Catholics believe, that the Virgin Mary after her death went to heaven - this was declared as a dogma by Pope Pius XII - and is thus outside any discussion among Catholics. The Catholic Church has celebrates the Virgin Mary Heaven Journey around the 15 august, since the seventh century.
SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER
The city Salares organizes every year in september a two-day festival called the Fair Al-Sarq, also known as As-Shark. The occasion is the city's Moorish past. The whole village has changed to a Moorish village with locals and visitors dressed in traditional Moroccan atire. A Moorish market is set up, and musicians and dancers from North Africa to play, sing and dance all night in a setting of a Moorish courtyard lit by torchlight. The atmosphere takes you back to ancient times.
21. Equinoccio de Otoño / Autumn equinox
Traditionally, this was the time where people gathered to thank for the last harvest. And it is often still celebrated.
Early october: Fiesta of Senora del Rosario / Our Lady of the Rosary
Canillas de Aceituno holds a small fiesta in honor of the Virgin Mary and the Rosary. Millions of Catholics pray daily rosaries: rosary prayer consists of 15 parts - where each part consists of an "Our Father" and "Hail Mary" - while the praying meditates over 15 "mysteries" of God's redemptive work in Jesus the Christ. There are four different "rosaries", namely the 5 "mysteries of joy," 5 "mysteries of light", 5 "mysteries of pain" and 5 "mysteries of glory."
31. Fiesta de la Castaña / Fiesta of the Chestnut
The last day of October (when the U.S. celebrate Halloween) the town Alcaucin celebrates chestnuts! People come from afar to participate in the consumption of hundreds of pounds of dried fruit - mostly chestnuts and another specialty; roasted sweet potato. Live music, entertainment and dancing accompany this fun day.
1. Tosantos / All Saints Day
The day was originally in memory of all Christian saints and martyrs. In recent years it has become a common custom to commemorate the dead on All Saints Day by lighting candles on the graves. Many churches read out the names of the deceased in the parish. On this day, the Spaniards goes to cemeteries to remember and honor their ancestors. There are lots of flowers and candles.
11. Fiesta San Martin / Saint Martin Day
St. Martin started his career as a Roman soldier. A legend tells about his life that he once cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm, to save the beggar from dying of cold. That same night he got a vision in which Jesus told him that he himself was the poor beggar. He also dreamed that Jesus gave him the half shell back. When Martin awoke the next morning, his mantle was full again. The jacket gave rise to the name chapel, and are kept to this day in Paris. Because of the dream and the miracle St. Martin baptized the next day. He left the army and became a monk near Tours, where he founded a monastery at Poitiers. Morten missionary trips to France and became so popular that the people of Tours wanted him as a bishop. But he did not want the job and tryed to hide in a shed filled with geese, but they piped up and revealed him. He thus became a bishop against his wish and introduced simultaneously 11th november as official goose slaughter day! Many mountain villages celebrate Fiesta San Martin by distributed samples of the year's production of sausage, ham, etc.
DECEMBER & NEW YEAR
24. Las Navidades / Christmas
Christmas begins with La Nochebuena (Christmas Eve). It is celebrated as a family party and midnight mass. Traditionally Spanish children receive the first of their Christmas gifts at the Fiesta de los Tres Reyes Magos (festival of the three holy kings who held 12 days after Christmas) - but mostly they now also get a little Christmas gifts this Christmas.
25. Christmas Fair
There may be different events - flamenco dancing, performances by the city boys and girls choir, various stalls, etc.
31. La Noche Vieja / New Years Eve
New Year's Eve you go to a restaurant or a private party. Here, eat well and enjoy. Around 22-23, the streets are virtually deserted, but as we approach midnight people are pouring out on the streets. At midnight you toast in champagne (cava) and for each of the twelve bell strokes eat a grape - And then feasts on to the sneeze tomorrow. On New Year's Eve is a tradition to have red underwear - but it must be purchased for you by someone else, you may not even have thought it up in the drawers!
Canillas de Aceituno at the annual town festival