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Fiestas Benidorm

Fiesta, fiesta, fiesta! - Celebrations all year round

Benidorm has a jam-packed agenda all year round as far as festivals are concerned, including traditional festivals, as well as those that have come about over the years thanks to the town's visitors.

Carnival or 'Los carnavales' marks the start of Lent and begins the week before Ash Wednesday, finishing up with the traditional custom of "burying the sardine" on the beach on Mardi Gras. This festival fills the streets of Benidorm with its loud music, colours and costumes.

On the 16th of March Benidorm celebrates the discovery of Our Lady of Suffrage, patron saint of the town together with Saint James Apostle. The discovery of the patron saint is acted out on the beach Playa de Poniente, an event which was declared to be of International Tourist Interest in 2009.

The town's most important festival, 'Las fiestas Mayores Patronales', however, begins the second weekend in November and ends 5 days later, and is traditionally celebrated at this time of year so that local fishermen can take part in the celebrations.

The people of Benidorm also celebrate 'las Fallas' in the month of March, a festival which dates back to when carpenters used to burn all of the wood shavings and waste from their workshops on the eve of Saint Joseph’s day, as an act of spring cleaning, although today it is true works of art which go up in flames. Benidorm has three committees that are in charge of organising the 'fiestas', building and setting up their respective 'fallas', both for children and for adults. The festival ends with the 'cremà' or burning of the 'fallas' on Saint Joseph's Day, March 19th.

Like many other Spanish towns, Benidorm also celebrates the religious festivals of 'Semana Santa', or Holy Week, starting on Palm Sunday and ending on Easter Sunday. Over the space of a week, they commemorate and reenact the last days of the passion and death of Christ. Visitors can marvel at the hours of work that have gone into the 'pasos' or processions that involve representations of different moments of Christ's last few days of life. These are carried on the shoulders of penitents through the streets of Benidorm. Depending on the start of Lent, this celebration takes place in March or April.

Moving on through the festival agenda, on the 1st of May the 'Festa de la Creu', or ‘festival of the cross’, Benidorm’s oldest 'fiesta', is celebrated in the neighbourhood Les Foietes, where a floral offering is made, among many other festivities.

From the 15th to the 18th of June, during the 'Romería del Corpus Cristi’, this celebration in honour of the virgin Virgen del Rocío transforms Benidorm into an Andalusian town with a fair, typical music and dance and a special mass. This festival was started by the Andalusian people who settled in Benidorm, drawn by the possibilities of working in the tourism sector offered by the city, and today this is the most numerous group among the Spanish emigrants who came from other regions of Spain to earn a living.

Just a few days later, you can see the 'Hogueras de San Juan', from the 21st to the 24th of June. This festival is celebrated all over the Alicante province to a greater or lesser extent. Bonfires are lit to burn old things, not only objects, but also feelings and experiences. The flames symbolise purification and a celebration of the arrival of the summer solstice. However, experiences are now personified in the form of papier mâché sculptures that are exhibited in towns until they are set alight on the evening of the 24th of June. Over the last few years, the people of Benidorm have been gathering on the beaches Playa de Poniente and Playa de Levante where they build bonfires and burn everything unwanted, ready to welcome the long awaited summer.

When it gets to July, a town like this can't be without the celebration of the festival in Honour of the Virgin Virgen del Carmen, patron saint of the sea. Different events, such as a fair, traditional music and concerts are organised, but the most important and moving activity in the 'fiestas' is the procession of boats around the bay of the Playa de Poniente, where former fishermen are the main stars of the show.

In the month of September the Asturians settled in Benidorm celebrate their own festival, organised by the association 'Casa de Asturias', on the 7th and 8th, and the association 'Casa de Castilla La Mancha' also holds its own festivities with a wine harvest on the 13th.

A more recent tradition, but no less significant, is the 'Moros y Cristianos' festival, which commemorates the power of the Muslims on the Iberian Peninsula (Spanish territory) and the battles that continued to shift power between the Muslims and Christians in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, with the difference that in Benidorm, it is focused more on talks and treaties between the Moors and Christians than battles, taking away the military symbols. This festival is celebrated at the beginning of October and lasts a week. The participants group themselves into the so-called 'Comparsas' of each side. Through the parades, where everyone is dressed in costumes representing that era, the idea is to act out the times of Muslim occupation and their later expulsion from the Iberian Peninsula.

To round up the year, just before the traditional Christmas celebrations in the second week of November, the people of Benidorm celebrate their 'Fiestas Mayores' in honour of their patron saints Saint James and Our Lady of Suffrage, over a space of five days. This festival has gained importance over the years and is now an attractive lure for tourists thanks to its folk clubs, the 'humour parade', a parade which sarcastically and ironically refers to the political panorama with its original costumes and of course, we mustn’t forget to mention the spectacular fireworks and the religious meaning behind this celebration.

But Benidorm's 'fiestas' don't end there; throughout the year there are all kinds of other festivals and celebrations, making Benidorm a lively place where visitors certainly won't get bored!