For centuries an integral part of Spanish Culture has been the ‘Fiesta,’ and one of the best ways to fully immerse your self in authentic Spanish tradition is to visit one of these colorful, vibrant celebrations of life.
Sometimes it seems as if festivals run consecutively from one into the next, the Spanish really do love to celebrate. Here is a guide to ensure you don’t miss the biggest and the best festivals in Murcia.
For confirmation of dates and listing of what may be happening it’s best to contact Murcia’s Tourist Information. Details of which can be found at the bottom of this page Radio Spain FM.
The Spring Festival in Murcia is held relatively quickly after Easter, it’s an opportunity for all of the surrounding villages to come and dress in their local regional embroidered skirts and zaragüelles trousers. It’s a festival to promote all of the market garden workers, a type of agriculture unique to this area of Spain. Like a display between male peacocks the villages take great pride in their appearance and compete in folk dancing, brightly colored floats adorn the streets and every available town square becomes a make shift market selling delicious traditional dishes of Murcia, be sure to try the “chuletas de cordero al ajo cabañil” A dish of succulent lamb chops served in a unique garlic vinegar dressing.
The protected woodland of this part of Spain is packed with local game. If you get the opportunity gorge your self on the grilled rabbit, hare, partridge and quail.
The first day of festivities start with a blessing of Virgin of Fuensanta, the patron of the city. From here colorful floats travel around the city. My advice is to locate yourself at one of the many excellent tapas bars en route, enjoy a glass of the local Jumilla region wine and let the carnival atmosphere come to you.
The following Saturday the celebrations take a bizarre twist. Perhaps the most extraordinary festivity of the year it all involves the burning of a sardine effigy and marks the mourning and end of the festivity.
Brass bands, stilt walkers, Chinese dragons, dancers and marching precessions festoon the city streets to the sound of Spanish music. Partying goes on late into the night so be sure to take your best flamenco dancing shoes.
During September Mucia comes alive again to celebrate the City’s patron saint La Virgen de la Fuensanta, parades, folk lore and pageants paint the perfect setting for this Autumnal festival.
Several smaller festivals, such as the pop music, film, bullfighting and Mediterranean folk lore festivals are incorporated in to the main festival, and take place in separate locations. Be sure to scourer the tourist information center so you don’t miss anything. There are even performance pieces from Mucia’s twin town of Lodz in Poland, the atmosphere is sure to be electric in this truly international festival.
From the End of January for two months a City wide version of the Tate Modern takes place.
Hosted in the cathedral, churches, existing galleries, and several of the outdoor squares in Murcia it’s a must see for any art modern art aficionados. Don’t panic you don’t have to don a serious gaze for a day and dress solely in black whilst you try to comprehend what the artists are attempting to communicate, there are guided tours that will talk you through the works of local and international artists. With a flavor of our Turner prize expect to see all kinds of outlandish conceptual art.
Last years event displayed a piece “HORIZON MOINS VINGT (H-20)” by Laurent Tixador and Abraham Poincheval it was more of an adventure than a work of art. They dug an underground tunnel by hand of some twenty meters and filled them selves in as they went. It represented a conceptual ‘underground mobile home’. With living space only a few meters in length and 166 cm high the two survived in the space for 20 days. They were supplied with fresh air during the 20 day excavation and were only in contact with the outside world via radios.
The best way to sample these festivities is undoubtedly with the use of a hire car. If you’re determined not to miss anything and feeling a little more adventurous on your holiday you should definitely consider hiring a car.