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Alicante,Costa Blanca,Spain » Entertainment » Festivals

Alicante hosts a variety of seasonal events and religious festivals, which attract many visitors to this historical, intriguing and vibrant city.

The city is especially known for its colourful parades and fiestas, which involve huge parties with dance and music flowing throughout the streets until the early hours of the morning.

The locals are very passionate in upholding traditional festivals and thoroughly enjoy the amusement that comes along with them, as well as encouraging visitors to join them in celebrating together.

Featured below are also Alicante's National Public Holidays

JANUARY

Ano Neuvo (New Year's Day) : 1st January

Epiphany or Kings Day : 6th January ( Visit Site )

Porrat de San Antón (St Anthony's Day) ( Wikipedia )

This festival is held each year on the 17th of January in the neighbourhood named after Alicante's Patron saint, San Anton. The market sells traditional food such as dried fruits and nuts, and a small fair is held. Locals are also known for taking their animals to the bullring where they are said to be blessed. An animal show is also organised for entertainment.

FEBRUARY

Alicante Carnival ( Wikipedia )

Every year, around the time of Shrove Tuesday, Alicante celebrates a colourful carnival that lasts for three weeks. The festival begins with the Don Carnal and Dona Cuaresma plays, followed by daily street celebrations. The highlight is on Sábado Ramblero (2nd of February), when the city's main thoroughfares, La Rambla and El Barrio, fill with stunning costume parades, music and dancing.

The carnival ends with a ceremony called 'Funeral Wake and Burial of the Sardine', during which masks and make-up get buried till next year's carnival. To complete the mourning act, everybody wears black and carries a candle in their hand.

MARCH - APRIL

Dia de San Jose (St Joseph's Day) : 19th March ( Visit Site )

Jueves Santo (Maundy Thursday) : late March or early April ( Wikipedia )

Viernes Santo (Good Friday) : late March or early April ( Wikipedia )

Semana Santa (Easter) ( Wikipedia )

This is one of Alicante's main religious celebrations and lasts between Palm Sunday to resurrection Easter Sunday. Brotherhoods usually participate in the parade where artwork is also presented by famous artists. On Holy Wednesday the main procession take place in streets of Santa Cruz. Holy Thursday sees the 'paso de la Santa Cena' sculpture being carried through the parade and this is referred to as the Holy Supper Float. Easter falls between late March and early April depending on the Lunar Calendar.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons/Jose Pereira

The Pilgrimage of the Holy Visage (Santa Faz)

This is a very popular pilgrimage, considered the second most important in Spain after the Andalusian Rocío. In one single day during the pilgrimage, some 200,000 people holding pilgrim's canes and wearing typical orchard-workers blousons walk to the Monastery of the Santa Faz to worship at the shrine. Along the way to the shrine, people stop for a short break known as "paraeta" during which people eat anise rolls and drink typical Alicante wine known as fondillón.

Moors and Christians Festival (Moros y Cristianos)

This is a fiesta celebrating the recapturing of Spain from the Arabs in the 12th century. The festival of Moors and Christians has become one of the main festivals that represent the social life of Alicante, getting to be, overall, an attractive mix of religion, etiquette and street festival. The friendship is an essential component of the festival of Moors and Christians. Without the spirit of camaraderie, this festival would not exist. In Alicante, the festival begins by dianas waking up the people in the morning. Then, everyone heads to the centre of the town to welcome the entradas, the arrival of Moors and Christians as they march in period costumes. Then, the festivities begin where a re-enactment of battles and dialogue between the Moors and the Christians is acted out by various filaes. The festival ends with informal and comic retreats. Each filaes has its own retreat, the kábila for the Moors and the cuartel for the Christians. At the retreats, people enjoy food and drinks.

MAY

Labour Day : 1st May ( Wikipedia )

Cruces de Mayo (May Crosses)

During the annual Cruces de Mayo festival, held in May from the 1st to the 3rd of May in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood of Alicante, the atmosphere is filled with music, dance and flowers. The cobbled streets, warm plazas and quaint balconies get a makeover as they are decorated with flowers arranged into the shape of crosses.

JUNE

Saint John's Bonfires (Moros y Cristianos) ( Wikipedia )

The Fogueres de Sant Joan is an important celebration in Alicante, which pays homage to Saint John and welcomes the summer season with bonfires and fireworks. The celebrations have been going on for hundreds of years and exact date and time is not known, but today's activities go back to 1928. On the night of the 20th of June, large satirical artistic monuments of paper mache and wood are set up all over the city. Four days later, on the Nit del Foc, they are burnt in the crema. After the crema, a huge fireworks display presented at the St Barbara Castle can be seen from all over the city of Alicante.

JULY - AUGUST

Virgen del Carmen ( Wikipedia )

Alicante is a port that has depended on the sea for its trade and culture. So, it is natural that fishermen pay tribute to the patron saint of sailors and also decorate their boats. The highlight of the festival is at the island of Tabarca, where a statue of the Virgen is sitting in her own boat during a sailor's procession.

Jazz Festival

This attracts many great musicians to Alicante. The summer festival begins in July and ends in August. There are various Jazz performances allocated around the city in bars and entertainment venues.

Virgen del Remedio (Our Lady of Remedy) ( Wikipedia )

On the 5th of August the matron saint of Alicante, 'Virgen del Remedio is honoured by launching parades. Two days before there is a 'feast day', and the 'Alborada', as well as the Port Summer festival also takes place.

Feast of the Assumption ( Wikipedia )

On 15th August, a national holiday takes place in order to celebrate the principal feast of the mother of Christ. The feast honours two events, the departure of Mary from this life and the assumption of her body into heaven.

SEPTEMBER

Virgen del Socorro ( Wikipedia )

The Raval neighbourhood whose main street and its chapel named after the saint was traditionally home to sailors and fishermen. This procession, which takes place between September 6th and 10th, is celebrated to honour the patron saint. During these days, festivities include dancing, music, food and fireworks are in full swing.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons/Rdc2

OCTOBER

National Day ( Wikipedia )

National Day on 12th October is a public holiday during when celebrations take place around the city of Alicante and the rest of Spain.

NOVEMBER

All Saints Day : 1st November ( Visit Site )

DECEMBER

Constitution Day : 6th December

Feast of the Immaculate Conception : 8th December ( Wikipedia )

Christmas Day : 25th December

New Year's Eve ( Wikipedia )

On 31st December, there are a number of fireworks displays lighting up the city, as well as a heap of party celebrations livening up the streets, as Alicante welcomes the New Year.