La Costa del Sol has a intense calendar of celebrations: Fair; Holly Week; Carnivals; San Juan; Verdiales; Virgen del Carmen; Patron Saints; Pilgrimage; Three Wise Men's Parade.
Between February and March, just before Lent, is celebrated Carnival that is an important occasion for each town. Every city organizes competitions of processions, street bands and jokes (sung in a satirical fashion) and carnival displays.
But the most popular festival in Andalucia is probably the Semana Santa which occurs from the Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday) to the Viernes Santo (Good Friday) and then the Domingo de Resurrección (Easter Sunday). In almost every town they celebrate this event by carrying religious icons across the streets to dramatize the passion and death of Jesus Christ.
In the Costa del Sol there are many religious festivals, such as 'romerías', processions to the statue or monument to the patron saint of the locality. In May and September there are lots of these festivals. In 3rd May Marbella celebrates the day of 'Cruz del Juanar', a procession up to the mountain where the Cross of Juanar is located, outstanding symbol of the history of Marbella.
Also in May is the 'Fiesta de las Cruces', a very important festivity in nearest cities such as Granada and Córdoba, where people use flowers to decorate their houses and terraces with religious images.
In the spring, there is the Corpus Christi procession, with the natural flower carpet laid down in its pathway, and the small altars and decorated balconies.
In summer there are numerous celebrations to promote local produce. 7th June is the 'Día del Pescaíto' (Fried Fish Day) in La Carihuela, Torremolinos. From 1 p.m. onwards tourists and residents are invited to sample the area's famous fried fish and drinks free of charge on La Carihuela beach.
The first fortnight of June, Marbella celebrates the San Bernabe Fair. The most important day is June the 11th, featuring the Commemoration of the Christian Conquest. This celebration includes bullfights and performances by famous singers and groups.
The night of 'San Juan' is held on the night of the 23th of June, and is celebrated on Andalucia´s beaches with bonfires called 'juas'. These fires are accompanied by music and fireworks on the beach. For good luck, the people dip their feet in the sea just after midnight.
The marine procession of the Virgen del Carmen on the 16th of July is one of the large festivities. She is the patron saint of the sailors and so this occasion is celebrated by most of the towns and villages along the coast. The celebration starts with a procession of an image of the virgin in a boat decorated with flowers through the streets.
From around the 11th to 20th August Malaga celebrates the City's annual Fair. From noon to 19.00 the City centre is packed with thousands of people who fill the streets and bars to dance and enjoy themselves 'La Feria de Dia'. During the night people celebrate in the 'Real', a place in the open air filled with traditional Andalusian tents and stalls, where there is dancing, drinking and general festivities (free public entrance).
The Second fortnight of October (19th) takes place the Fair of San Pedro de Alcántara coinciding with San Pedro´s festivity. During one week we can enjoy a typical andalusian festivity.
November 1st, festivity of 'All Saints', many people of Marbella go out to the country to celebrate this day called 'Day of Toston' with the traditional roasted chestnuts and tasting of liquor of the area.
28th December is the 'Dia de los Santos Inocentes', Spain's equivalent of April Fool Day, on 1st April. Apart from being practical jokers day, it is another wild and wonderful music party day for the thousands who gather on the hills above Malaga, at La Venta de San Cayetano in Puerto de la Torre, to enjoy the Fiesta de los Verdiales. From noon onwards plenty of Malaga wine is consumed as bands known as 'Pandas' compete with one another, wearing colorful hats adorned with paper flowers, beads and ribbons and playing on a weird selection of tambourines, cymbals, guitars and fiddles. The Verdiales competition is part of Malaga"s ancient culture and goes back to the time of the Moors in Andalusia.
Christmas Eve on 24th December is known as Nochebuena or 'the Good Night'. It is a time for family members to gather together to rejoice and feast around the Nativity scenes that are present in nearly every home.
The Three Wise Men Parade. This is the moment when the three kings of Orient bring their Christmas presents to the children, on the 6th of January. Three men dress up as the kings ride about the town on mules or horses, scattering sweets to the crowds of excited children.
Finally, here is a list of national and regional Bank Holidays. Local holidays will usually fall on the day of the patron saint of the town.
January 1 - New Year's Day
January 6 - The Kings
February 28 - Andalucia day
May 1 - May Day
August 15 - Assumption Day
October 12 - Hispanic Day
November 1 - All Saints Day
December 6 - Constitution Day
December 8 - Day of the Imaculate Conception
December 25 - Christmas Day
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