Category Archives: Sports

SPAIN IN 2014 (APRIL-JUNE)

Welcome back to all our readers! Spain is famed worldwide for its festivals and fiestas and looking at the various events coming up in the next three months it’s easy to see why. Below you can find a brief summary of our pick of the best festivals, sport events and religious celebrations, etc. taking place in our country from April to June!

April 2014

As you would expect from a deeply Catholic country, Easter or “Semana Santa” is an extremely important event in Spain. From the smallest village to the largest city, Easter celebrations take over the whole of the country for a week, starting with Palm Sunday on the 13th April until Easter Sunday on the 20th, with thousands of events taking place all across the country. These festivities have centuries of history and tradition and are quite possibly the most important of the year, in all corners of Spain the streets and squares will be filled with people displaying their religious fervour and piety.

Easter Procession in Sevilla. Source: Visitasevilla
Easter Procession in Sevilla. Source: Visitasevilla

For an insder’s glimpse into the preparations that go in to the spectacular Easter Week festivities in Seville, watch the video below. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0P662dIpdA

Later in April, another important festival takes place, especially in Catalonia… Sant Jordi (St. Georges day), also known in Catalonia as the Day of the Book & the Rose takes place on the 23rd of April in the Catalonia region of Spain. Often compared to St. Valentine ’s Day, Sant Jordi day celebrates Barcelona’s patron saint in a very unique manner. According to traditions dating back to the 15th century, on the 23rd of April, couples exchange gifts: a book for the men and a rose for the women.

Ramblas during Sant Jordi. Source: Hotel Omm
Ramblas during Sant Jordi. Source: Hotel Omm

Book and flower stalls are hastily set up along the streets of Barcelona for the tens of thousands who will take to the streets seeking a gift for their beloved. Throughout the day the streets and squares will also be filled with musicians, authors signing their works, literary events and an endless number of street performers and events.

May 2014

Just as things are beginning to wind down in Seville after the completion of the momentous Easter Week festivities, the Andalusian capital comes alive once again with an equally spectacular albeit very different festival: the “April Fair” (Feria de Abril). Despite its name, this year it will take place from May 6 to 11.

The April fair is held every year around 2 weeks after the completion of Easter week and in stark contrast to the sombre religious rituals and traditions of the “Semana Santa”, the April fair revolves entirely around good music, delicious food, dancing and great atmosphere. In short, it’s all about the fun.

During the celebration, over a thousand “casetas” or tents are installed in the fairground that then become the hub of all activity in the city, packed to the brim with Sevillians and guests dressed in traditional Andalusian attire: the men with the typical outfit of a farmworker (traje corto) and women with traditional flamenco dresses (faralaes) .

FERIA DE ABRIL SEVILLA SOURCE UNKNOWN

These casetas are mostly owned by groups of friends and local associations and so are private for members and their guests; however there are plenty of public tents which are open to all. Sevillians have always been well known for their friendliness and being inside a caseta really feels like you have stepped in to a family gathering. With plenty of conversation, music, food, wine and local flamenco dancing (“sevillanas”)throughout the night you are sure to have a good time!

A short video clip to give you an idea of the superb atmosphere you’ll find.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNDZ0DPegD0

In Madrid, from the second week of May you can enjoy the festivities in honour of its patron saint, San Isidro, who himself was a resident of Madrid in the 11th century. Whilst the festivities will take place all over the city, they will mostly be concentrated in the barrio of San Isidro in the southern district of Carabanchel.  This lively festival celebrates all things Madrilenian, from the wearing of the typical chulapo and goyesco outfits to the cooking of giant Cocido Madrileños, Madrid’s most traditional dish.

San Isidro. Source: Inspirado en España
San Isidro. Source: Inspirado en España

The main celebration takes place on the Pradera de San Isidro on the banks of the Manzanares River on the 15th of May as thousands will gather to take part in a pilgrimage to the shrine of San Isidro at the Hermitage of San Isidro and drink water from its spring. Later in the day, hundreds of Madrileños outfitted with traditional clothing will head to Plaza Mayor for the dancing of the typical regional dance known as the chotis as well as to enjoy various open air concerts. Whilst the main festival lasts only from the 9th until the following Sunday, San Isidro also marks the start of Madrid’s San Isidro bullfighting festival season, quite possibly the most important bullfighting festival in the world  and as such it also attracts both the best bullfighters and the best bulls from all across the world.

Also in May, one of Spain’s most visually stunning festivals, the Courtyard or “Patios” Festival takes place in Cordoba  in the midst of Spring between the 5th and the 18th of May and celebrates the hundreds of beautiful courtyards that the city boasts.

A beautiful courtyard in Cordoba. Source: Cordoba Flamenca

During the two weeks, Cordoba’s inhabitants welcome the general public in to their stunning courtyards carefully decorated with pots of beautiful flowers hanging against the whitewashed walls for all to see and appreciate, with the most beautiful courtyard being crowned the winner at the end of the festival. There will also be various events, concerts and live music happening throughout the weeks so there is plenty to enjoy besides the flowers and of course you will have to take some time to sample Cordoba’s delightful tapas and the delicious local wines!

Other interesting events taking place in May would be the Horse Fair in Jerez, The Moors & Christiana Festival in Alcoy and for those “speed-lovers” the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix near Barcelona and the Jerez Motorcycle GP.

June 2014

For those interested in Culture, The Madrid Book Fair returns to the Retiro Park again this year from the 30th of May until the 15th of June.

Established in 1933, the book fair attempts to promote Spanish & International literature as well as the authors, editors and institutions engaged in the publishing and distribution of books.

Madrid Book Fair. Souce: elmundo.com
Madrid Book Fair. Souce: elmundo.com

During each day of the fair, publishing companies and bookshops organize book signing sessions as well as talks with some of the world’s most popular authors and with over 200 stalls set up for the occasion, there is bound to be a book for every taste!

On the evening of the 23rd of June, cities, towns and villages all across Catalonia will be lit up with traditional bonfires and countless fireworks for the celebration of the Nit de Sant Joan (St. Johns Eve).

The Nit de Sant Joan, also commonly known as the Night of Fire or the Night of the Witches in Catalan,is celebrated in honour of St. John & the arrival of the Summer Solstice.

Catalonians celebrate the shortest night of the year with feats, firecrackers, street dancing, bonfires and fireworks throughout the night. The electric atmosphere that is felt throughout the region will no doubt keep you going until the early hours!

SANT JOAN BARCELONA BEACH  s

Other events on this month would be the Catalonia Motorcycle GP and the Haro Wine Festival, in La Rioja, with the popular “Battle of the Wine”. Also, even if the Soccer World Cup will be held in Brazil (from June 12th to July 13th) you shouldn’t miss the chance to enjoy the Spain’s national team games, etc. at the bars, terraces or giant screens surrounded by hundreds (or thousands!) of lively fans supporting the title holder. Don’t forget your red shirt!

Stay tuned for more interesting posts about Spain and, please, remember to share!!!

 

 

Spain in 2014 (January-March)

Happy New Year to all our readers!!! From the Insider’s Spain Blog we hope that you will have many blessings in this 2014 and, why not, this might be the year you decide to visit our beloved Spain. If so, just continue reading and find out about some of the celebrations, cultural and sport events, festivals, etc. taking place in our country during the first three months of the year!

January 2014

It’s the end of the Christmas and New Year Holidays, and Spain goes back to “real life”… Just after these dates, from the second week of January, it’s the beginning of the sales season (Rebajas) which will be running in most of the shops and shopping malls until the end of February. During this time, retailers encourage us to keep spending (in case we didn’t do it enough during the holidays) by putting the prices of their products down (up to a 70% in some places!).

In Madrid, there’s a travel fair which has become more and more popular in the last decades: FITUR, which celebrates its 34th anniversary and will take place from January 22-26. The International Tourism Trade Fair of Madrid, with more than 200,000 visitors per year, is an important date for many in the travel business. Apart from FITUR, the city will also host the Gastrofestival, from January 24 to February 9, in which there will be many gastronomic routes, events, exhibitions, special menus, etc. along the city. The festival showcases one of Spain’s strongest identities in a fun, encompassing manner, bringing on board great national and international chefs but also combining with the worlds of fashion and art.

Source: Gastrofestival
Source: Gastrofestival

February 2014

The main festival taking place in Spain during this month is the Carnival. This year, the Carnival will take place from February 27 to March 9. Although there will be celebrations in most of the regions in Spain, the most popular places to enjoy the Carnival are Cadiz (Andalusia) and Tenerife (Canary Islands).

The Carnival of Cadizis one of the most popular in the World (it’s been awarded as a Festival of International Tourist Interest) and it receives every year more than 100,000 visitors. Apart from the costumes, etc. the highlight of this festival are the “chirigotas”, satirical groups of performers and their songs full of sarcasm and parody.

The Carnival of Tenerife has also been awarded as a Festival of International Tourist Interest. It does also attract people from around the World and it is considered the second most popular and internationally-known carnival, after the one held in Rio de Janeiro. Compare to Cadiz, this Carnival is more spectacular (in terms of costumes, parades, etc.) and mores similar to the idea of the Brazilian Carnival, which is famous Worldwide.

Carnival
Source: carnavaltenerife.es

March 2014

The Fallas in Valencia are the most important event in March. The days before Saint Joseph’s Day (March 19) the streets of Valencia are full of decorations (including the spectacular wooden constructions – ninots) and people celebrating (open air bars, music bands, etc.). Everyday tons of firecrackers and fireworks are thrown so, if you’re noise sensitive this might not be the perfect festival for you. On the last day of the celebrations (March 19) all the ninots (wooden constructions), except from the contest winner (which is spared) are burnt as huge bonfires, which is the culmination of this festival.

Apart from this festival, for those sport lovers, on the weekend of March 22-23 the “Clasico” soccer game Real Madrid vs F.C. Barcelona will take place at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium (in Madrid). This is probably the most important soccer game in the World (at a clubs level) and it’s followed with interest by fans all around the globe. Do contact us if you are interested in securing tickets.

Source: resultados-futbol.com
Source: resultados-futbol.com

In the next few months we will publish another post with the upcoming events, festivals, etc. taking place in Spain during the second trimester of 2014, starting with the Holy Week Parades in Sevilla…

Stay tuned!