Ferias, Fiestas and all kinds of celebrations on the Costa del Sol
The Spaniards love their festivals and in Andalusia there are 14 holidays a year to give them an opportunity to party. The Town Hall and tourist offices will give details of dates and times for you.
Many of these events are religious, ranging from celebrations for the local Patron Saint, pilgrimages, festivals and fairs. Some festivals are connected with fishermen and the sea. There are also Flamenco fairs, bullfight festivals, cultural activities and concerts.
Whatever event you attend it will be both colourful and lively.
Los Reyes Magos [Three Kings]
On the 6th January the event known as 'Los Reyes Magos' or the 'Three Kings', is celebrated. This is usually an early evening procession especially for the children to enjoy. The Three Kings parade on floats decorated with dolphins or sea horses around the village and continuously throw sweets for the children to pick up. It is great fun for the parents, too, who provide their children with bags to collect a large supply of sweets. They are not disappointed.
The streets are lined with stalls with locally made bread and arts and crafts of the area.
Streets are decorated with bunting. The main colours are green and white, the colours of Andalusia. The children wear masks and there is dancing in the streets. The fiesta mood continues throughout February.
Semana Santa [Holy Week]
This is Easter Week. Parades leave the local churches to move through the streets with lifelike statues of Christ on the Cross and the Virgin Mary in mourning. Elaborate costumes are prepared during the year for this serious festival. Muffled drums are beaten during the procession and accompanied by an occasional 'saeta' which is an improvised religious lament. No fireworks are allowed on this occasion but drinking and celebrating is still evident.
Las Cruces de Mayo [the May Crosses]
This fiesta is well worth visiting in Torrox and Coin, places away from the coast. It is an ancient custom when crosses decorated with both real and paper flowers are placed in the streets and squares.
Sardinada [Sardine Festival]
Cooking sardines on the beach is a common sight on the Costa del Sol. Often an old fishing boat filled with sand will be used to cook the sardines.
There is a procession through the fields for San Isidro, the Patron Saint of Farmers. A fiesta and agricultural trade shows are also held at this time.
Corpus Christi [moveable date]
Processions pass through streets that are covered with flowers. Parades, music and dancing also take place.
San Juan Fiesta, La Cala de Mijas
San Juan Fiesta, La Cala de Mijas, is celebrated on the beaches with bonfires and fireworks. It is traditional to dip your feet in the sea just after midnight.
Dia del Carmen
Dia del Carmen is another Fisherman's Festival and Procession. The statue of La Virgen del Mar [Virgin of the Sea] and protectress of the sea is taken on a carriage decorated with flowers to the hermitage dedicated to her. She is taken from the lighthouse to the dock by boat. The most colourful events are at Los Boliches, Fuengirola, Torremolinos, Marbella and Nerja.
La Cala de Mijas Fair
In July a fair takes place for several days. The festivities, including fireworks, go on well into the night.
The Mijas Carnival takes place the last two weeks in September. The village streets are closed and most businesses close down for the second week. Street musicians serenade you whilst you sample the food and drink that is served in the street. The local fair ground is the base for the annual fun fair. The festivities run into the early hours.
Feria del Rosario
This fair takes place in Fuengirola in the first two weeks of October. Casetas [clubhouses] and a variety of societies set up shows, food and drink between Fuengirola and Los Boliches. There are horse riding events, flamenco and, of course, fireworks.
La Cala de Mijas Verbena y Romeria [Street party and Pilgrimage]
Around October 18th, the Verbena y Romeria takes place. This is a pilgrimage to honour Santa Teresa, the Patron Saint of La Cala de Mijas. The procession assembles after Mass at the local church and progresses to the park. The procession leads with a statue of Santa Teresa carried on a plinth by women, some of them in bare feet, flamenco dancers, colourful floats, musical bands and the locals who mingle with tourists who are welcome to join in. On arrival at the park, families meet up to begin a day of festivities.
If you wish to know more about this event, read 'First Time at a Pilgrimage in La Cala de Mijas, Costa del Sol, Spain', which gives more detail and some images.
Fiesta de la Castana [chestnut]
There are hundreds of kilos of roasted chestnuts, sweet potatoes and ice cream and accompanied by plenty of music.
Fuente de Piedre [stone fountain] and Fiesta de Urena.
This celebration combines the equivalent of Halloween with scarecrow competitions and a roast chestnut and pudding feast.
Dia del Toston [chestnut roast]
A group of young people spend the day and the previous night camping in the countryside. They roast chestnuts and drink the local brandy. This takes place in Marbella.
International Food Festival
This takes place at various restaurants in La Cala de Mijas.
[Fiesta de Verdiales]
This event is on December 29th in Malaga. Musical groups in colourful costumes compete with each other. Wine and food is available.
It is easy to celebrate in Spain with so many festivals and processions to choose from. The above list is just a sample of ferias and fiestas on one of the Costas, Costa del Sol. There are plenty to choose from in other parts of Spain and tourists are always welcomed warmly. It is a very good way to get involved more deeply into the culture of the real Spain.