Spain loves a good fiesta (party)! Many of these parties are actually based on local tradition, religion, and folklore, and have grown from fiesta to festival. Here is a list of some of Spain’s more unusual and remarkable festivals that you can partake in. Make sure to put one of these unique festivals on your BUCKiTLIST!
Baby Jumping Festival (El Colacho)
The baby jumping festival dates back to the 17th century and is celebrated as part of the feast of Corpus Christi. Taking place in Castillo de Murcia, all the babies born in the last 12 months are placed on mattresses lining the streets, and local men dressed as devils jump baby covered mattress after baby covered mattress. This tradition is said to protect the babies from evil spirits.
Tomato Festival (La Tomatina)
In the town of Buñol, near the city of Valencia, La Tomatina is held on the last Wednesday during the month of August. Considered the world’s biggest food fight, the tomato festival recently attracted over 50,000 participants from all over the globe, so now a ticketing process has been enacted and only 20,000 people can participate each year. Over 100 metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown during the festival, which last for exactly one hour. The tomato fight has been a strong tradition since 1944, but no one is exactly certain how this event originated.
Turnip Festival (Jarramplas)
During the Jarramplas Festival in Piornal, Spain, people throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum. The Jarramplas is a character that wears a costume made from colorful strips of fabric, and a devil-like mask and beats a drum through the streets of Piornal while residents throw turnips as a punishment for stealing cattle. The exact origin of the festival are not known. The Jarramplas Festival takes place every year on the 19th of January, Saint Sebastian Day.
Running of the Bulls (Fiesta de San Fermin, Pamplona)
The Pamplona bull run (Encierro) is the most widely know bull run in Spain, and is the highlight of the San Fermin Festival. The bulls are released in the old quarter of Pamplona and are lead by runners over the slippery cobblestones to the bull ring. Although San Fermin is a religious celebration, the bull run has converted the religious celebration into a mass gathering of people from all over the world and it is now known as a joyous party. The tradition of the Encierro comes for the need to get the bulls from outside the city into the bull ring.
Festival of Near Death Experiences (Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme)
This annual event that takes place on July 29th every year in the small town of Las Nieves, and allows people to give thanks to Saint Martha (Santa Marta) after surviving a close brush with death during the previous twelve months. Friends and family carry a coffin with their very much alive participant in a procession to the town’s church. Even though the participants themselves might be in serious contemplation, most of the spectators lining the streets are much more likely to be lighting firworks, and dancing along to the numerous bands.
This is just a small list of the remarkable and eccentric festivals and celebrations to be found in Spain. Spanish festivals take place in almost every city, towns and village throughout Spain at some point during the year. Some of the best festivals and fiestas in Spain have deep religious and historical meaning to the locals while others are simply meant for partying and having fun. Have you participated in, or witnessed any of these celebrations and traditions? Do you know of an equally fantastic Spanish festival? Let us know in the comment section, and remember to share your dreams and bucket lists on the BUCKiTDREAM app.