Malaga City - Festivals

© Michelle Chaplow Parade at Semana Santa
Parade at Semana Santa

ProcesiÓn de Los Reyes- JANUARY

 © Michelle Chaplow The Kings giving out gifts.
The Kings giving out gifts.

This is the celebration of the Epiphany, on the 5th and 6th of January. It takes place in the City Centre. At 5pm on the 5th January, the Kings arrive at the port, and a child reads to them a letter, requesting gifts for all the children in Málaga. Then the parade begins, it travels from Paseo del Parque to the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall)., with a series of floats passing through the streets, carrying Los Reyes (The Kings) Gaspar, Melchior and Baltasar, they lead the parade, whilst throwing small gift and sweets into the crowds for the children. The occasion is marked by 12 festive processions and 5 bands.

After the parade, a festival takes place - organised by the post office - with a series of performers, including illusionists, singers, dancers and musicians.

For more information on the festival of The Three Kings, click here.

Malaga Carnival- February and March

Málaga Carnival takes place during February and March every year, it marks the lead up to Lent. The Carnival is a good excuse for people to let loose and indulge before the frugal Lent period arrives. The Carnival includes parades of costumed dancers and streams of performers, and characters in mask, the most famous of these performances are the traditional ¨murga¨ (street bands) temporary stages are set up in Plaza del Carbon, Plaza de los Martires, and Plaza de los Flores, to host the performances, which often go on until the small hours of the following morning. The parade reaches its peak on the last Sunday of the celebrations. The parade travels from Esperanza Bridge to La Malagueta beach, where the traditional "burial of the sardine" takes place, to mark the end of their indulgence, and a movement into Lent. The Carnival of Málaga is quite a spectacle, even the locals dress in costume.

For more info on the Carnival in Andalucia.

Semana Santa- APRIL

The celebration La Semana Santa is a tradition across the whole of Spain. It celebrates the different stages of Via Crucis (the way of Christ). It is one of the busiest weeks in Málaga´s calendar, the city becomes enveloped in cheerful music and good spirits. Whilst Sevillanos claim that their celebrations of Semana Santa are the best in the country and the only ones worth seeing, any Malagueño would wildly disagree. The Tronos in Málaga are considerably larger than those in Seville and the dress is quite spectacular - not to be missed!

To mark the event, all of the Hermandades (Fraternities) of Málaga take their journey of penitence through the city they carry with them large floats holding images of Christ and the Virgin. The floats have been known to weigh up to 5 tonnes, and are carried by Hombres de Tronos (the throne men) across the city in full public view, it is quite a sight to behold. The lifting of the floats is a very emothional sight, to see the men struggle to lift it over their shoulders. On occasions throughout the procession the throne men extend their arms into the air and the float sways gently from in the air for a few seconds.

You are likely to hear the occasional outburst of song. Participants and spectators of the procession often chant and sing the holy Saeta

 © Michelle Chaplow Hombres de Trono Semana Santa
Hombres de Tronos Semana Santa

On Monday a sculpture of Cristo de los Gitanos (Christ of The Gypsies) sculpted by Juan de Vargas, is carried in a parade across the city, accompanied by all the Gypsies of Málaga. On Wednesday images and sculptures of Jesús del Rico (Jesus of the Rich) are paraded through the city. Later on Wednesday the procession of the Palomas (doves) passes through, followed by the release of 100 doves. On Thursday there is the walk of El Cristo de la Buena Muerta (The Christ of Good Death) which is accompanied by: legionaries and floats representing the Virgen de la Amagura (The Virgin of Bitterness), members of the Brotherhood of Zamarrilla, and the Virgen de la Esperanza (The Virgin of Hope), which is traditionally the heaviest of all the floats.

Good Friday sees The Procession of Silence - the only audible sound is a slow drum roll, which reverberates throughout the city, whilst the Fraternities walk on in silence. This is a very solemn and moving occasion regardless of your faith or religious beliefs.  

For more information on the festival of Semana Santa

Saints Day- JUNE

Celebrated on the 16th June in marks the day of Saint Cyracious and Sait Paula, in whose honour, in 1548 the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabel built a temple. The day was declared a holiday in 1582, when 18th June was declared the anniversary of the saints.

Noche de San Juan- JUNE

The Night of San Juan takes place on the 23rd of June, it marks the Summer Solstice. Originally a Pagan tradition the ritual was later given sanction by the Christians, to celebrate the Solstice. At Midnight on the 23rd, figurines called Juas (usually charicatures of public figures) stuffed with flammable substances such as paper and sawdust are burned on a bonfire. It is not uncommon for participants to bring old furniture to burn, to keep the fire going. As the fire subsides, a competition begins, people begin to jump across the remaining flames, whilst others continue to dance around the fire.

The Night of San Juan is said to be magical and enchanted. There are myths which say that if you bath in the sea at Midnight you will receive eternal beauty.

After the burning ritual comes to a close the Veladilla Begins. The Veladilla is an event organised by the San Juan Church Youth. Calle San Juan is decorated, and a series of games and contests are arranged for children and for the adults, performances, dancing and entertainment. The Veladilla is also marked by a competition, specifically, a beauty pageant, in which the coming year´s Miss Veladilla is chosen.

Málaga Feria- AUGUST

The annual Malaga fair in August is an exuberant week-long street party with plenty of flamenco and 'fino'(sherry).The fair commemorates the re-conquest of the city by Isabella and Ferdinand in 1487 and lasts for ten full festive days.

This castanet-clicking fiesta starts off with a bang, literally, with an impressive firework display in the park which can be seen for miles around. The best view is from the Port if you happen to be on a cruise ship or can persuade a sailor friend to drop anchor there for a few hours.For more information on the festival of Málaga Feria, click here.

Procession of the Virgin of Victory- SEPTEMBER

The prcossion of La Virgen de la Victoria is celebrated on the 8th September every year. It marks the victory of Ferdinand and Isabel´s victory over the Moors.

The occasion is marked by a speech, given at midday usually by a local celebruty, followed by a procession from Nuestra Señora de la Victoria Church, to the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall). The procession is accompanied by a series of Town Hall officials.

PICASSO MONTH - OCTOBER

The month of October marks the anniversary of the birth of Pablo Ruiz Picasso. To celebrate this anniversary a series of conferences, Art Exhibitions, Music Concerts and Competitions are hosted across the city. Popular activities are put together by The Pablo Ruiz Picasso Foundation and Málaga Town Hall. Each year they try to focus on a different aspect of Picasso´s work. At the end of the celebrations, a grant is awarded to an aspiring artist.

Verdiales - DECEmBER

Verdiales Festival takes place end of December. It is a dance festival which celebrates a lively flamenco dance style from the Olive region, in the district of Pueto de Torres. It takes place on the day of the innocents (Spanish April Fools Day)

For more information on Verdiales Festival click here.

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