Because of its rich culture, history and religious and Moorish influences, there are many cultural events in El Puerto de Santa Maria and around. Indeed it has been said that in the province of Cadiz there is at least one local festival every week. Here are just a handfull of festivals happening in El Puerto de Santa Maria, and in Andalusia! Spark Spanish will be there every step of the way to ensure that everyone can experience some of this fantastic Spanish Culture!
Feria del Fino de Puerto de Santa Maria (24-29 de Abril 2013)
Probably the most well known event is the Feria. Each town has its own Feria and it is often the subject of conversation for many weeks before and after. The most well known characteristic of the Feria are the girls in big swirly, brightly coloured dresses and the men (not as many) in typical ‘caballero’ costumes. Other things you will find are: horses, lots of sherry, Sevillanas music and people dancing Sevillanas everywhere, a fun fair, jacket potatoes, fabulous food and tapas and much much more! There are fairs all over Andalucia from April – October, with Seville being the first fair of the season. Whilst Seville feria might be the most well known, personally from experience we find the El Puerto (usually in April / May) much nicer with the most important difference to Seville being that all the casetas (marquees) in El Puerto are open to all, whereas in Seville most are on ticket basis, meaning you can’t wander around from caseta to castea meeting friends and conocidos (people you vaguely know), which is one of the most enjoyable features of ferias. The Puerto fair is known as the “feria del fino” after the local sherry made in El Puerto de Santa Maria. The Jerez feria is usually the week after El Puerto and is also a must for horse lovers and is probably the prettiest of all fairs. Check out our blog posts for student experiences at ferias.
Also the wonderful Feria de Caballos in Jerez takes place the week after the Feria in El Puerto, during the 6-13 of May.
Carnival de Cadiz y El Puerto de Santa Maria (7-17 Febrero 2013)
Carnival craze spreads through southern Spain in January and February and provides an excuse for dressing up and partying. The carnival in El Puerto de Santa Maria is nice and you will certainly find yourself dressing up and joining in the festivities, but it is in Cadiz where the heartbeat of Spanish carnival spirit can be found and a day or night trip across the bay (easy to do from el puerto) is certainly worth the effort. In Cadiz Carnival consists of big processions with beautifully decorated karts and is most famous nationally wise for its carnival songs, which come in many forms, from the groups of friends dressed up and singing on the streets, to the big competitions that conclude in the Cadiz theatre and are televised throughout Spain. However it is the street atmosphere created by around 200,000 people who descend on the city nearly all in fancy dress, which is the real attraction for most and well worth getting involved in. Check out our blog posts for student experiences at carnivals.
Here is an example of a performance who appeared in the quarter finals of the music competition in Cadiz:
Semana Santa (21-31 de Marzo 2013)
Another famous holiday is Semana Santa, or Holy Week, which is the week leading up to Easter. To celebrate this Catholic tradition every town has many processions, usually one per church, spread out over the week. Each church has their own ‘brotherhood’ of people and they usually carry a big ‘plateau’ with their Saint (usually Jesus or Maria) and many candles around the area of the church. To many this can sound a little boring but once you see the effigies, which can be as heavy as a small car, being carried one cannot fail to be impressed and also as all festivals in Spain (even religious ones!), the Spanish have the remarkable ability to quickly turn the festival into a party atmosphere once the effigies have passed. El Puerto de Santa Maria has impressive effigies and has a week timetable for when they will be leaving and arriving, which is more than enough to get a feel for the atmosphere, however if one gets especially into them, a day or night visit to Sevilla to see larger processions could well be worth the time. Check out our blog posts for student experiences during semana santa.
Music Festival Monkey Week (late October 2013)
El Puerto de Santa Maria has its own 4 day independent music festival every October. Artists from all over Spain and some from other countries descend on the town as many of the venues in Puerto are taken up by live performances. The quality of the bands is usually high and the music is mainly Spanish language, making it another great opportunity to booster your language exposure. For more information refer to: http://monkeyweek.org/ and also check out our blog posts for student experiences at the music festival.
Motor GP in Jerez (3-5 de Mayo 2013)
A motoGP race takes place every year in Jerez (a town 10 minutes from El Puerto via train) around April-May. For those who are a little unsure, the MotoGP is basically a form of Grand Prix motor racing, that involves motorbikes. Fans come from various corners of the world, most riding down on their motorbikes, to see the event and it is not an understatement to say El Puerto de Santa Maria is literally overun by motorbikes. Last year around 500,000 fans were said to have made their way down to the race. For more information see the Jerez race track`s web. Check out our blog posts for student experiences at the the motor GP race.
The Hermitage of El Rocío (around the 18th of May 2013)
This is a pilgrammage at El Rocío in the countryside of Almonte, in the Province of Huelva, right here in Andalusia. It takes place the weekend before Pentecost Monday, last year, that fell on the weekend of Saturday May 26th. Monday May 28th 2012 was known as Whit Monday and it is a religious holiday in many countries including Ireland, Holland and Switzerland. The date on which it falls is always a Monday, but the date differs every year depending on when Easter falls. The pilgrammage attracts many religous groups from all over the world every year and is said to be a spirtually enhancing experience.
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Even though it has been the subject of heated debate amongst locals and tourists alike, bullfighting has always enjoyed popularity. Wherever you stand on the matter, the majestic site of bull and matador engaging in a battle has formed part of the local culture for centuries and you’re bound to be impressed by the trademark bullring rising in the middle of the local plaza de toros that you´ll find anywhere you go in Andalucia, be it to a small village or a big city. El Puerto de Santa Maria has one of the most famous bullrings in Spain (being the widest) and attracts some of the top bullfighters throughout the bull fighting season (Easter and summer). One of Puerto’s unique ‘corridas’ is one that takes place in Easter with the bullfighters on horseback. There is also bull running in many local villages, like Arcos de la Frontera and Grazalema, and these can be fun affairs if you are in to that type of thing, and if not, joining in the festivities afterwards is always worth the visit.
- FESTIVAL DE JEREZ : FESTIVAL DE FLAMENCO (Del 22 de febrero al 9 de marzo de 2013): if you are into guitar playing or dancing then this is the one for you. See the best Flamenco performers in Spain at the home of Flamenco.
- NOCHE DE SAN JUAN (24 June 2013): a big beach festival throughout the province of Cadiz. Partying and drinking on a beautiful beach, what more do you want?
- FESTIVIDAD VIRGEN DEL CARMEN (16 of July 2013): Local festival, go out and enjoy it with the Portuenses.
- LA GRAN REGATA EN LA BAHIA DE CADIZ (26-29 July 2013): If you are into sailing this is the one for you. Rumour has it Rey Juan Carlos just might show his face this year… so why not join him?
- FERIA DE SAN ISIDRO GUADALETE JEREZ (27-31 August 2013): Why not join us for this summer Feria…
- FESTIVIDAD VIRGEN DE LOS MILAGROS (8 of September 2013): Milagros is the “patron saint” of El Puerto de Santa Maria and on this day the locals paint the streets in multi-coloured salt, a pretty sight.
Want to know more about Spanish culture? Why not check out our Andalusian or El Puerto de Santa Maria info? Have a query you want to check with us about the location? Why not request an answer or check with our online Spark Assistant. Inspired to learn Spanish? Check out our Spanish Language Courses.
We also give regular updates on What’s on in El Puerto de Santa Maria, and also What’s on in Cadiz and Andalusia! Check out what is happening and make sure you don’t miss out on witnessing amazing culture and festivities here in El Puerto and Andalusia!!