Popular Country Fairs in Spain

waiting for the parade

festival crowds ©ErinEB/Flickr

The countryside of Spain can be just as exciting as its celebrated cities and famous beaches – actually, maybe even more so, considering their unique charm. One well-known thing about the Spanish villages is that many of them are quite picturesque, with cobbled, narrow streets, old churches or monasteries and a history that goes far back in the Early Middle Ages, or even Antiquity. Many of these villages also have some very interesting traditions and festivals, many of which are religious; however, these fiestas can also be ‘secular’, in which case they can be quite fun. This is exactly the reason why in today’s posts I will try to present some popular country fairs in Spain:

La Endiablada, Cuenca

This manifestation in Cuenca is a little on the bizarre side of events. Its origins seem to be in a very ancient pagan ritual. However, today the celebration has a religious signification. In an old ritual, local men dressed like devils parade through the town center and then purify the statue of Virgin Mary. They are accompanied by the sound of cowbells. The ritual ends with traditional dances.

festival day

bull race in Cuenca ©Ramón Peco/Flickr

Danza de los Zancos, La Rioja

Spain’s most famous wine region is also recognized for its bucolic manifestations. Danza de los Zancos is a very original manifestation dedicated to Mary Magdalene. The festival consists of a dance, but not any kind of dance: the dancers are very skilled men who wear bright costumes and move on the stilts. It involves very special skills that are passed from one generation to another.

waiting for the parade

festival crowds ©ErinEB/Flickr

Picaos, San Vicente de la Sonsierra

A less known Rioja festival, Los Picaos takes place every year before Easter in San Vicente de la Sonsierra. The festival is closely connected to the Passions of Christ and the religious dogma of the Middle Ages, when flagellation was a popular punishment for those Christian committing a serious sin. In remembrance of those times and the Passions of Christ, pilgrims enroll in a processions and whip their backs with ropes made of a special grass.

Sitges Carnival, Sitges

I am sure this is not the first time I mention Spanish carnivals (the biggest and most famous of which takes place in Tenerife). The carnivalin Stiges maybe not very big, but it’s quite fun. Stiges is a beautiful resort, just a short drive from Barcelona. The carnival includes a parade, plenty of food and good music, and, most importantly, some fantastic nearby beaches.

street parade

Sitges carnival ©Kevin Coles/Flickr

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