This past week in Granada was “La Fiesta de Las Cruces”. In theory, the point is a city-wide competition for the square with the most beautiful cruz, or cross display. However, the real point is…
…by 2 pm on Wednesday, the streets of the entire city are flooded with women in Flamenco dresses, guys are playing the guitars, cervezas are flowin’ like the Niagara Falls, and it’s all one big, Andalusian street party. The thought going through my head?
Oh yea. THIS is why I love this country!
And don’t forget, all this was happening on a weekday:
With 3,000 fiestas, from cities to pueblos, celebrated ever year, there is truly something magical in the air come spring festival season in Andalusia. While each city’s celebration varies from the next, they all have one major element in common: years and years of tradition.
So, what the heck are they celebrating?
The better question is, what aren’t they celebrating! There’s city fairs, carnivals, flamenco festivals, horse festivals, wine festivals, ham festivals, asparagus festivals…you name it! However, the majority of festivals have religious roots, like the many holy processions, cross celebrations, and special days dedicated to honoring the city’s patron saint. And that’s not to mention my personal favorite, the “religious” pilgrimages into the countryside, called romerías.
But lets face it. It’s 2017. Even if the roots are religious, all these festivals ultimately boil down to one thing: the entire community gathering together and celebrating the good life.
But what makes these fiestas so great?
A sunny afternoon at a springtime festival means walking through cobblestone streets and stumbling upon plazas big and small overflowing with people of all ages, with grandmas fanning themselves while playing with their grandchildren, parents sitting at a table sharing a cervecita with friends, and teens, well, doing their teen thing. There are vibrant, polka dot dresses, swirling dancers, running children and a whole lotta sunglasses. Spontaneous combustions of singing, guitar, laughter and shouting fill the air, while the unmistakable scents of fried fish, paella and BBQ fill your nose. The entire community is together “pasándolo bien”, enjoying each others company and it’s pretty damn dope.
The Andalusian culture is deeply rooted in two core values: tradition and community. So why not take those two values together and get a taste of the culture in the most Andalusian way possible?
It’s tradition, it’s community, it’s downright beautiful and everybody will be ready welcome you right into the fiesta with a semi-cold beer, a hug, dos besos, and maybe even a little Sevillanas.
Here’s a list of top 5 festivals to attend:
1. Feria de Abril – Seville
One of the most iconic festivals from Andalusia, women are decked out in Flamenco dresses and Sevillanas can be heard from every corner. (April 30th- May 7th 2017)
2. Los Patios- Córdoba
Dating back to Moorish influence, neighbors compete for the most beautifully decorated floral courtyards. The entire city is covered in flowers! (May 2nd – May14th 2017)
3. Corpus Christi – Granada
From bullfights and Flamenco dresses, to tents filled with food and fireworks, it’s an Andalusian dream. (June 15th, 2017)
4. Feria del Caballo – Jerez de la Frontera
Drinking some damn good sherry while watching horses? Doesn’t get much more Spanish than that! Horse drawn carriages take over the city, along with Flamenco, of course. (May 13th- 20th 2017)
5. Noche de San Juan – at the Beach
This one’s a little different. Bonfires are lit along the coasts on the night of June 23rd for “San Juan’s Night”. At midnight, everyone writes a wish on a little piece of paper , throws it in the fire, then jumps over the fire and runs into the Mediterranean Sea to wash away their problems from the past year! Some popular beaches are Almuñécar and Motril in Granada, Almería, Cadiz, Huelva and coastal towns throughout Malaga. (June 23rd – every year)
For more info on every single festival in Andalusia, visit the this page!