An Andalusian Experience

A Date in Andalusia

An Andalusian Experience's year-round guide to selected fiestas, cultural and sporting events in southern Spain. Please note that the information below is subject to last-minute change or cancellation. This section was last updated on June 26, 2001.



LA TOMA. In Granada, a commemoration of the city’s conquest from the Moors in 1492, on January 2.

GUITAR. Almuñecar (Granada) hosts its prestigious Andrés Segovia guitar contest, in honor of the late composer and long-time resident of the town, during the first week in January.

Three KingsTHREE KINGS. In Andalusia, children receive gifts not from Santa Claus but from the Reyes Magos, the Three Magi. In every town there is a colourful parade depicting the arrival of the gift-bearers on the eve of the Epiphany (January 5).





BRAVE BULLS. The Feria Mundial del Toro (Brave Bull Trade Fair), devoted to all aspects of the world of bullfighting, at the Seville Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos in second week of February.

CYCLING. The Andalusian Cycle Tour, the first event on the international cycling calendar and one of the oldest tours in Spain, takes place in mid-February.

CARNIVAL. Anything goes during the pre-Lenten carnival fiesta. The most famous takes place in Cádiz, but carnival is celebrated throughout Andalusia in the weeks prior to Ash Wednesday (Feburary 13 in 2002).



BONFIRES AND DRUMMERS. In Baena (Córdoba), bonfires are lit and drummers parade around town in a prelude to Holy Week, on the Feast of Saint Joseph (March 19).

Semana SantaHOLY WEEK. Moving, emotion-packed religious processions are held throughout Andalusia during Holy Week, from Palm Sunday (March 24, 2002) to Easter (March 31).





THE VIRGIN OF JAEN. One of Andalusia’s most colourful pilgrimages is held in Andujar (Jaén) on the last weekend in April to honour the Virgen de la Cabeza, commemorating the appearance of the virgin to a local shepherd in the 13th century. Festivities last several days leading up to the pilgrimage on the last weekend in April.

APRIL FAIR. Seville invites you to the world’s most colourful party, the Feria de Abril, from April 16 -21, 2002.



MAY CROSSES IN GRANADA. Traditionally held on May 3, the date for this festival is now the first Sunday in May, though festivities tend to last a few days beyond the official date. Elaborate cross and tableaux fashioned out of fresh flowers are erected on streets and plazas, and outdoor bars are set up.

MOTORCYCLE RACING. World Motor Cycling Championship race takes place at the Circuito de Jerez, in Jerez de la Frontera (Cadiz) on the first weekend in May.

SPRING IN CORDOBA. Spring is the time to be in Cordoba, which celebrates a non-stop programme of fiestas including a battle of flowers, the May Cross Fiesta, Patio Festival, a wine festival and the annual Nuestra Señora de la Salud fair.

HORSE FAIR. The equestrian capital of Spain, Jerez de la Frontera, holds its colourful annual Horse Fair in mid-May.



FISH FOR ALL. La Carihuela, the fishermen's quarter of Torremolinos (Málaga) treats all comers to a sampling of fried fish on the Día del Pescaito, the first Thursday in June.

MOORS v CHRISTIANS. Mojácar (Almería) holds a mock battle between Moors and Christians on the first weekend in June.

ROCIO PILGRIMAGE. At Whitsuntide one million pilgrims converge on El Rocio, on the edge of the Doñana park in Huelva, to pay homage to the Virgin in Spain’s biggest pilgrimage.

CORPUS CHRISTI (May 30 in 2002). The moveable feast of Corpus Christi is the excuse for a week-long fiesta in Granada. In Seville, this is one of the few occasions when the ancient Baile de los Seises ("Dance of the Sixes") is performed in the cathedral.

MIDSUMMER FIRES. On the eve of the feast of Saint John, June 24, bonfires are lit at midnight in a ritual that harks back to pre-Christian days.

MUSIC FESTIVAL. The International Festival of Music and Dance  is held in Granada, with classical music and ballet performances at various venues around the city, including the fabulous Alhambra palace and the Generalife gardens, last week of June and first week of July.



GUITAR. The Gran Teatro de Córdoba hosts the city’s prestigious International Guitar Festival, featuring every style of music from classical to jazz and flamenco, in the second week of July.

FISHERMAN’S FIESTA. The Virgen del Carmen is the patroness of Andalusian fishermen, and colourful sea-borne processions are held in her honour in fishing communities all along the coast on or near her feast day, July 16.

CAVE MUSIC. Ballet performances, classical concerts and recitals in an unusual setting, the Caves of Nerja (Málaga), at the end of July. T




Feria timeMALAGA FAIR. Malaga holds its annual feria, with dancing, music, promenades of horsemen and bullfights during the second week in August.

POLO. Sotogrande (Cádiz) hosts top international polo events during August.

VIRGIN OF THE SNOWS. Before dawn on August 5, pilgrims set out from the village of Trevelez (Granada) and make their way to the shrine on the Veleta peak in Sierra Nevada.

HORSE RACING. Spectacular horse races on the beach in Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cádiz) a tradition which dates back more than a century and a half and attracts top international jockeys, on two separate weekends: August 16-18 and August 29-31, 2001.

WINE. The village of Cómpeta in Málaga hosts its Noche del Vino wine festival on August 15.

ALMERIA FAIR. Almería celebrates its annual Fiesta in honor of the Virgin of the Sea during the last ten days in August.

SHELLFISH. Tons of prawns are dispensed during the Feria de la Gamba in Punta Umbría (Huelva) on the last weekend in August.

CRUISE REGATTA. The classic Osborne Nautical Week, one of Spain’s top sailboat races, takes place in El Puerto de Santa María, during the last week of August



MatadorGOYESQUE. Ronda (Málaga) celebrates in Goyesque Fair, inspired by the taurine works of the painter, Goya, during the first week of September. The highlight of the fair is the Goyesca bullfight.

AUTUMN HARVEST FEST. From mid-September to mid-October, a full program of cultural and sports activities in Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz) revolving around the annual harvest festival. Highlight is the blessing of the harvest and symbolic treading of the grapes on September 21.





SHOW JUMPING. Ancade, Spain's premiere equestrian event which includes the International Show Jumping Competition, is held at the Chapín equestrian stadium in Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz) in the first week of October.

PAINTED CHRIST. The Pilgrimage in honour of the Cristo del Paño, revolving around a painted image of Christ taken out in a procession celebrated by the poet Lorca, takes place in Moclín (Granada) on October 5.

FUENGIROLA FAIR. One of Andalusia’s most cosmopolitan fairs, the Fiesta del Rosario, takes place in Fuengirola (Málaga) from October 6-12.



ALL SAINT'S DAY. November 1. Andalusians gather in village cemeteries to honor their dead. In many towns, the feast day is also an excuse for El Tostón, a picnic in the countryside, traditionally consisting of roast chestnuts and anise liqueur. This tradition is especially popular  in Benaluaria, Istán and Ojén in the province of Málaga.

ASTA CONVENTION. The American Society of Travel Agents holds its annual convention at the Seville Palacio de Congresos y Convenciones, from November 5-10, 2001.

JAEN ROMERIA. In Jaén, a romería (pilgrimage) to the Santa Catalina castle to honour the city's patroness, on her feast day, November 25.

SICAB. The Salon Internacional del Caballo, Spain’s biggest trade fair devoted to the world of horses, is held at the Palacio de Congresos y Convenciones in Seville.



EXPOARTE. Trade fair devoted to folk art and crafts, at Seville’s Palacio de Congresos y Convenciones, in mid-December.

VERDIALES FIESTA. A festival featuring the ancient, haunting music of the Málaga mountains, on December 28 in Puerto de la Torre near Málaga.


Illustrations by Mary Eisman


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Copyright © 2000-2006 Mark and David Little & J.D. Dallet