Festivals and Fiestas of the Costa Blanca
Find out about the festivals, religious celebrations and annual events that take place in the towns and villages along the Costa Blanca...
Spain is known for its festivals (fiestas), many of which originated in religious events but have evolved to be a more general celebrations.
Every city, town and village has its own festival, which includes feasting, colourful processions, fireworks and partying.
Here is an introduction to the most significant fiestas in the annual Costa Blanca calendar.
Semana Santa - Holy Week
Easter week is the most important Catholic tradition of the year in Spain. It begins on Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday) and ends on Lunes de Pascua (Easter Monday).
There are street processions, with colourful confetti and a carnival atmosphere every night on the Costa Blanca, where religious icons are paraded through the streets, in re-enactments of the passion of Christ.
While celebrations take place all over the coast, noteworthy processions are:
- In Crevillent on Tuesday before Good Friday
- The Holy Burial Procession in Orihuela on Easter Saturday
- The Palm Sunday procession in Elche, which dates back to 1371
- For more information, see website TourSpain
Moros y Cristianos - Moors and Christians
This festival commemorates the Reconquista, or the re-establishment of Christian rule in Spain.
Locals dress as either Moors or Christians for the occasion and re-enact battles. Costumes are spectacular and there are firework displays.
Towns celebrate Moros y Cristianos on different dates:
- The town of Alcoy and Baneres in Alicante celebrate at the end of April
- Altea celebrates in the last week of September.
- For more information contact a town's tourist office
The Hogueras de San Juan - San Juan Bonfires
An amalgamation of the ancient pagan celebration of the summer solstice, and the Christian feast of San Juan in June, which sees Hogueras (paper maché figures) placed around town. Live music and dancing take place through the night.
The culmination of the festivities is El Dia de San Juan, when a huge palm tree-shaped firework is set off from Alicante castle and simultaneously the Hogueras are set alight. A beauty contest accompanies the celebrations. Five nights of fireworks, starting at midnight, follow the fiesta.
- For more information see website
San Vicente Ferrer
This fiesta is one of the most important for the town of Teulada and honours the patron saint, Vincente Ferrer who was born and lived in the town. Ferrer is said to have blessed the town to protect it from the plague.
Ten days of colourful parades, live music and dancing and religious re-enactments take place in the week around 15 April.
Celebrations are also held in San Vicente del Raspeig the weekend following Easter Sunday.
- For more information, see website Teulada-Moraira
Fallas - Fire Festival
This major pyrotechnic festival takes place for five days every March and honours Saint Joseph, patron saint of carpenters.
A vast array of paper maché figures known as ninots are made. These are satirical representations of local figures (actors, bull fighters). The figures are ceremoniously stuffed with fireworks and set alight on the day known as La Crema, the festival's culmination, although one ninot is saved by popular vote and placed in the Museum of the Ninot.
There are also boisterous, daily firework contests.
Valencia has the most spectacular Fallas celebrations, but there are also festivities in Benidorm, Bunol, Calpe, Denia, Gandia, Oliva, Pego, and Sueca.
- For more information, see website Fallas
Feria de Mayo - May Fiesta
This event in May was started by an Andalucian exile living in Torrevieja as a street party outside the bar he owned. It has now grown in popularity, staged on the Torrevieja fairground and celebrates all things Andalucian, including flamenco music, traditional costumes and Andalucian horses, which perform equestrian displays.
There are many stalls serving sherry, tapas and the ever-present churros y chocolate. Many well-known Spanish artists come to perform traditional music.
- For more information, see website Feria de Mayo
Fiestas Patronales - Patron Saints' Days
Each town and village on the Costa Blanca has a feast day to celebrate its patron saint, who is thought to protect the town. These festivities generally last one week and processions and dancing replace work - most shops and businesses close down during this period. Often giant paellas are cooked in the streets and a beauty contest runs parallel to the event.
Dates vary from place to place but local tourist offices can provide information.
- See the website Spanish Fiestas