News, August 2004

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Summer is here, happy fiestas!

Fiesta time is round again. Through the spring, fiestas, or city/village celebration weeks, have already been a big part of life. After Easter, the cities of Andalusia begin a round of Ferias, starting with the greatest of them all in Seville. By June, most towns and villages want to join in, with festivities traditionally centred on a saint's or 'virgin's' day. 24th June, for example, is St. John's night, big all over the place, 7th July San Fermin, patron saint of Pamplona and so it goes on.

Based on the religious excuse, as it is in most cases, the people take an extra day or two off work and live long hours at the fair, in concerts and in bars. Nevertheless, a big procession of the virgin or saint, often taking the image to a different church or chapel, is a major part of the celebration. This tradition has deep roots in history, being directly descended from the fertility rites of pre-Roman religion. Yet it is this local tradition which keeps most people closest to the Catholic Church, which does little to show how pagan and non-Christian it all is!

In many cases, the fiestas are also accompanied by 'The National Fiesta', bull fighting and running. This is particularly known in Pamplona, but exists in many fiesta traditions across central Spain. More: