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10 quirky and bizarre Spanish festivals

Spain is known throughout the world for good food, great people, it’s scenic beauty and most importantly for the parties it hosts. But there are some crazy festivals that are highly celebrated in Spain, but not so known to the world.

Here’s a list of 10 bizarre and quirky festivals that are celebrated in Spain and are a must visit for all travel souls.

1. Las Fallas – Valencia

Las Fallas festival is a loud, smoky, high-spirited fiesta where flickering flames dance in the streets and plazas of Valencia! A five-day festival that lasts from March 15 to 19; enormous ninots (puppets and dolls) made from papier-mache, cardboard, wood, or plaster are created and set ablaze. These lifelike ninots usually depict bawdy, satirical scenes and current events. All the ninots are set out in the city for viewing until March 19, when all the fallas are set aflame, except for one on the day known as La Cremà. The ninot spared from destruction is selected by a popular vote and is exhibited in the local Fallas Museum along with the other favorites from past years.

2. Festival of Santa Marta de Ribarteme – Las Nieves, Pontevedra in Galicia

Held on July 29 every year, the basic premise of this festival revolves around the fact that those who have faced near-death experience in the past 12 months would travel to the village of As Nieves, along with their family and friends and climb into coffins and pretend to be dead as their family carries them through the streets along with other mourners to the Church of Santa Marta de Ribarteme where prayers to the statue of Santa Marta begin. The pilgrims pray to the Saint, and thank the saint for saving their lives and give a gift to the Saint, usually in the form of money.

3. La Tomatina – Buñol, Valencia

A food fight festival held last Wednesday of August each year, La Tomatina is a huge tomato fight festival which attracts thousands of people from all corners of the world. Established as the ‘World’s biggest food fight’, one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets and at the firing the water cannons signal, the chaos begins and within seconds tomato goo covers everyone and everything. After one hour, the cleansing process begins when fire trucks come in and spray down water on everyone.

4. Wine Flight – La Batalla Del Vino De Haro

From 27th to 30th of June of every year, thousands of thirsty locals and wine addicted tourists climb a mountain in La Rioja, Spain, and throw the sweet red liquid all over each other. It is the biggest party that happens in the quaint town of Haro. After a few hours of frolicking and fun, from the mountains, the fight descends down to the Haro town, where the only fight is done with traditional dances induced by hours of red wine pouring down one’s throat.

5. Tamborrada Drum Festival – San Sebastián

A celebratory drum festival held every January 20 in the city of San Sebastián, starts at midnight on the city flag raising by the mayor and goes on for 24 hours with non-stop drumming. Dressed as cooks and soldiers, participants march in companies across the city and celebration ends at midnight, when people congregate at the Konstituzio Plaza and the city flag is simultaneously lowered at various locations.

6. New Year in August – Berchules, Granada

This event came about by chance after the inhabitants of the region were unable to welcome in the new year due to an electricity blackout on the 31st of December. Hence the inhabitants of Berchules decided to move the New Year’s Eve to the first weekend of August. More than 10000 people today gather in this town to celebrate new years the traditional way with jamun tasting; eating twelve grapes at the stroke of midnight.

7. Salto del Colacho – Castrillo de Murcia, Burgos

It is an annual baby jumping festival held in the village of Castrillo de Murcia near Burgos. Men dressed as devil in red and yellow suits, known as Colacho, jump over young babies in an ancient Spanish religious festival designed to chase out bad spirits. The babies are all under one year of age and the festival takes place annually on the feast of Corpus Christi and is meant to represent the triumph of Christianity over evil.

8. San Fermin (Pamplona Bull Run)

This festival runs from July 6th – July 14; 8 days, 849 meters and gives 110% adrenaline rush.  The event often referred as Running of the bulls in English is the ‘encierro’ held in Pamplona in honor of Saint Fermin. It is a summertime festival that involves people running in front of a small group of cattle, typically six but sometimes ten or more, that have been let loose on a certain section of a town’s streets.

9. Dance of the Dead – Verges, Girona

Given impetus by the Black Death and the Hundred Years’ War, it is a literary or pictorial representation of a procession or dance of both living and dead figures, the living arranged in order of their rank, the highest being pope and then emperor to child, clerk, and hermit, and finally the dead leading them to the grave.

10. Human Tower Building Competition – Tarragona

Declared as Cultural and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, constructing human towers or castells is a rural cultural phenomenon of Catalonia. Every year around 40 teams register and try very hard to showcase their determination. This one is definitely awe-inspiring and occurs yearly in close vicinity to Barcelona.

Make your Spain visit now and participate in these crazy festivals right away!

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