The local fiestas augment the province’s general festivities with the celebrations of the pueblos blancos, white villages, of the provinces of Cádiz and Málaga and the fiestas of the towns around the Bahía de Cádiz bay.
To highlight just a few:
Fiestas de Moros y Cristianos de Benamahoma. 05 August.
Torre de BenamahomaDuring the first days of August, Benamahoma remembers its Arabic past and everyone dressed up to celebrate the fiesta (well, battle) of the Moors and Christians. Mixing with the people on the streets, they fill the ears with traditional cries and the noise of improvised blunderbusses and cannon. The racket takes us back to the times when Grazalema was on the frontier between the Nasrid rulers of Granada and the Christian armies of the Reconquest, and the skirmishes between the two sides continue. After this particular battle the festivities continue with music and performance in the municipal caseta and in other venues around the town as well.
Romería (religious pilgrimage) de San Antonio de Benamahoma. 05 June.
Celebrated over the first weekend of June, in the outdoor area of Llanos del Campo.
Cádiz city’s popular, indeed infamous, fiesta is celebrated in the days around Ash Wednesday, and is a tradition that dates from the middle of the 19th century.
Apart from the Concurso de Agrupaciones, the improvised street theatre staged by groups of local wags and satirists, the one key distinguishing factor of Carnaval in Cádiz is the gusto with which everyone throws themselves into the celebrations. The starting shot, metaphorically at least, is fired just before the official start of Carnaval. Around a month before the festivities, the various groups of the Agrupaciones who will participate in the official event at the city’s Mudéjar-style Teatro Falla stage their own rehearsals. The great community banquets, organised by local carnaval clubs, are an excellent way of getting to know Cádiz, the gaditanos themselves, and the essence of the carnaval itself.
During the officially set days of Carnaval, el disfraz es el rey – disguise is king. Whether solo, as a couple or in groups, fancy dress is virtually obligatory, particularly all day on the first Saturday of Carnaval. The culmination of the fancy dress celebrations, which also sees the climax of the good-natured humour on the streets, involves three distinct groups: familiares, or families, the ‘charangas’ (racket, or hullaballoo) who perform musical skits, or ‘ilegales’ (‘the illegals’), groups of friends or family, whose intention is to ‘brotar la risa’, raise a smile (or more risque forms of same), from anyone who hears their sometimes ribald or pointedly satirical squibs aimed at local figures such as politicians.
Semana Santa (Cádiz)
Spain’s great religious festival begins on Palm Sunday and finishes a week later on Resurrection Sunday. The week long religious observations commemorate the Passion of Christ, reflected here by the processions of the hermandades, brotherhoods, of penitencia, penitence. The cofradías, or local religious fraternities, comprised of nazarenos (the hooded penitents) accompany the sacred images of neighbourhood saints with the nazarenos clothed in coloured tunics and masks, the latter in fact intended as a symbol of humility. Normally the processions are in two parts, in the first carrying an image, usually a lifesized tableau, of the passion and death of Christ; the second carrying a representation of the Virgin, and these are often notable for the Virgin’s tearful visage, representing both suffering but also hope. Some of the hermandades march in respectful silence; others are accompanied by (usually junior) musical ensembles. It is also tradition, on the frequent stops in the procession, signed by a tolling bell (and as much it seems to give the sometimes dozens toiling beneath the bier carrying the sacred image a breather), that saetas, sad religious songs in a flamenco style, are also sung as the procession pauses.
This fiesta has always been a grand part of the tradition of the city. It’s celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost Sunday.
San Juan (Cádiz)
From late in the afternoon and towards midnight, small groups of townsfolk gather to follow a candlelit procession with burning effigies or models with a particular reference to life in Cádiz. The effigies, or ‘muñecos’, are constructed by the townspeople themselves.
Velada de los Ángeles (Cádiz)
Last week of July and first week of August.
Día de la Patrona
On 7 October the city celebrates the festival of the Virgen del Rosario, patroness of Cádiz and a local festival commemorated with a procession, preceded by a traditional votive offering of nardos, bouquets of white tuberose flowers, at the sanctuary of the Virgen.
Feria de Algeciras (June)
Semana Santa – Arcos de la Frontera (March / April)
Jerez de la Frontera:
- Motociclismo (MotoGP race at Jerez Circuit, May)
- Feria del caballo (Mayo)
Rota: Feria de la Urta (August)
Sanlúcar: Carreras de Caballos. Sandraces Horses (August)
Trebujena: Fiesta of food and the fermented grape drink, mosto
Villamartin:Feria del Ganado (September)