As well as the public and bank holidays that are common around the world, Spain has its own very special set of celebrations, announced by the Government each year. Some of these days are national holidays while others are specific to the autonomous community, province, town or even village.
The Spanish love to party, relax and celebrate life with friends and family, so it’s no wonder that with between 12 – 14 extra days off a year (16 if you live in Melilla), plus the famous puentes, Spain is consistently one of the Top 5 countries in the world for work/life balance.
How to keep track – a Calendar is your friend
As there’s nothing worse than turning up at work when you’ve no need to be there, or planning a shopping expedition only to find they’re all closed, it’s essential to keep track of which holidays are happening where.
The big media companies and newspapers in Spain all publish calendars, most of which are interactive and searchable too. We find this calendar from the IDEAL group to be one of the best, and you can download and print the calendar for your area free of charge.
Holidays are there for a reason …
So why do we have holidays on the days we do? Here’s some fast facts ….
1st January – New Year’s Day
Most widely celebrated holiday in the world, used to be in mid-March apparently.
6th January – Dia de Reyes – King’s Day or Epiphany
More popular than Christmas Day, ‘Reyes’ is when Spanish children get their presents. Parades and processions mark the day the Three Kings presented their gifts to Jesus, and there’s cake … lots of cake.
1st March – Dia de Andalucia (displaced from 28th Feb)
Celebrates 28th February 1980 when Andalucia became an autonomous community in its own right. Lots of bunting and cultural celebrations everywhere.
1st & 2nd April – Pascua (Easter) Jueves Santo y Viernes Santo (Semana Santa)
Easter Thursday and Good Friday – some areas of Spain swap the Thursday for the Monday, and yet more have the whole 5 days … that’s why you need a calendar to keep track! One of the biggest events of the year, Semana Santa is not to be missed.
1st May – Dia de los Trabajadores – Labour Day
Imported from the USA, this is a workers day off – shame it falls on a Saturday this year
16th August – Asunción de la Virgen – Assumption Day
One of the most important religious festivals in Spain, celebrating the Virgin Mary.
12th October – Fiesta Nacional de Espana – Spain Day
National Day of Spain, commemorates Columbus’ discovery of America in 1492, lots of parties and parades.
1st November – Dia de Todos los Santos – All Saints Day
Probably better known as ‘Day of the Dead’, this is the day Spaniards flock to the cemeteries to remember lost loved ones. Top flower-selling day of the year.
6th December – Dia de la Constitución – Constitution Day
Celebrates the Constitution established in 1977, signalling a new era of parliamentary democracy in Spain.
8th December – Inmaculada Concepción – Immaculate Conception
As well as an important religious festival, this holiday is the unofficial signal that the Christmas season has begun.
25th December – Navidad – Christmas Day
While Christmas Eve (Nochebuena) is a bigger party day (well, night), Christmas Day is when families get together, exchange gifts, go to church and have big meals.
So those are the main Spanish national holidays for Andalucia. As we mentioned above, local municipalities get to choose extra fiestas which generally coincide with saints associated with the town, and we’ll keep you up to date with these as well.