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SPAIN PORTUGAL AND MAROCCO
TRADITIONAL FIESTAS

Year round, in towns and cities throughout Spanish territory, there is an infinite succesion of festivals (fiestas) that stand out because of their popularity, local color and spectacle. They are a tourist and Cultural attraction of first magnitute with with very diverse themes, Cultural, historic or religious. Among the best know popular traditions are included, without doubt, Bullfighting and Flamenco.

Bullfighting festivals are celebrated throughout the country, with the most famous and popular being the Running of the Bulls during San Fermín in Pamplona. Every morning from 7th to the 14th of July the celebrated “chupinazo” (skyrocket) is set off and the running of the bulls takes place. The bulls run in disarray from the corrals to the bullring, crossing the narrow streets of the city replete with young people from the region, and many others who have arrived from foreign countries. They are a few short minutes of great tension, emotion and euphoria.

Other very well-know bullfights festivals in Spain are the Fiestas de San Isidro in Madrid. They are celebrated in May and are among the most important ones of the year.

Traveling to the south, in the region of Andalusia we find the Spanish folklore tradition par excellence: Flamenco. In the month of April one of the largest expositions of this art is celebrated, The Seville April Fair. A week replete with song and dance, where the best regional gastronomy is also savored. A colorful week that no one should miss.

If you wish to visit the city of Seville, another exceptional celebration that it offers is Holy Week. During these days a special atmosphere is breathed and its streets are filled with its famous confraternities.

Another event that attracts millions of people to a small Andalusian town is the Rocío, a pilgrimage procession to the town of the same name, where the Virgin “La White Paloma” (the White Dove) is venerated. People arrive from differernt points of Spain traditional and simply adorned carts, on foot or on horse, celebrating a singular spectacle; where folklore and happiness are mixed with religiosity in a curious and colorful combination.

Fire, gun powder, music, local color, exhibition and spectacle are the constituitive elements of Las Fallas of Valencia, organized for centuries to be lived in the street, with neighbors and visitors coexisting because hospitality and the invitation to participate in the festive acts is turned into a social happening in the city.

Near Valencia is found the town of Buñol, where every year, the last Wednesday of August they celebrate the famous “Tomatina”, the largest tomato battle in the world. The beginning of this tradition is both simple and plyaful, and it goes back to a massive fight that ocurred in 1945 when its ininhabitants couldn’t find better weapons than the vegetables from a market stand.

For the lovers of history the festival of Moors and Christians, prevalent throughout the province of Alicante, shows the troubled times of battles, conquests and reconquests between the two kingdoms. The best known are those from Alcoy, which received the title of International Touristic Interest.

Less original, but no less important are the Carnival festivities, with the most famous being those celebrated in Santa cross de Tenerife, because of their great beauty, and those from Cádiz, famous for its parade troupe and “chirigotas” (satirical choral folksongs) contest, whose principal goal is entertainment.