January 1st – New Year’s Day
January 6th – Three Kings (processional takes place on January 5th)
February 28th – Andalucia Day
May 1st – May Day
August 15th – Assumption Day
October 12th – Hispanic Day
November 1st – All Saints’ Day
December 6th – Constitution Day
December 8th – Day of the Immaculate Conception
December 25th – Christmas Day
The Three Wise Men Procession – evening of January 5th
This is when the Three Kings of Orient bring the children of Spain their Christmas presents – that’s only if they’ve been good of course. Naughty children receive only a piece of coal. During the procession, the Three Kings ride about the town on mules or horses, or on the back of a float, scattering sweets to the crowds of excited children.
Carnival is celebrated in Marbella just before Lent. There are competitions, processions, street bands, satirical songs and displays.
Semana Santa (Holy week) – Easter
This is probably the most notable festival in Andalucía. It starts on Palm Sunday and the brotherhoods of each town organise daily, solemn, religious processions to portray the Easter story, carrying heavy, religious icons through the streets, representing the passion and death of Jesus Christ. The final procession takes place on Easter Sunday.
MARBELLA: Cruz del Juanar – May 3rd
This is a pilgrimage up to the mountain for mass under the Cross of Juanar. Legend has it that the Cross was erected by fishermen in gratitude as they claimed to have been saved by the sight of the mountain top when lost at sea in heavy fog.
ESTEPONA: San Isidro Labrador (Patron Saint of Agriculture) – May 15th
This popular procession or romería celebrates the Patron Saint ‘San Isidro Labrador’ whose shrine is located in the natural reserve of “Los Pedregales” just outside of the town of Estepona. As well as the procession, the town celebrates with livestock competitions and exhibitions of agricultural machinery and farm produce.
MARBELLA: San Bernabe Fair – beginning of June
The most important day is June 11th when the town of Marbella commemorates the Christian Conquest. This celebration includes bullfights and performances by famous singers and groups, and the obligatory funfair.
ESTEPONA and SAN PEDRO: San Juan – night of June 23rd
Each town works hard over several weeks to prepare beautiful satirical puppets and displays which are then burned down on the beach on bonfires called ‘juas’. These fires are accompanied by music and fireworks on the beach. For good luck, people dip their feet in to the sea just after midnight.
ESTEPONA: Annual Fería – beginning of July
The town is filled with music and dance for a colourful week of fun and partying. By day, carriages with horsemen and women perform and there is traditional dancing and music in the streets of the town. By night, the party moves to the rastro ground where the funfair and partying gets into full swing.
ESTEPONA: Virgin Del Carmen (Patron Saint of Fishermen) – July 16th
These celebrations are organised by the fishing community in honour of their Patron Saint. A grand religious procession marches through the town and over the sea on fishing boats and many gather at the seashore and out in their boats to see the Virgin del Carmen herself. The occasion is celebrated in most of the towns and villages along the Coast but is particularly important in Estepona.
MALAGA: Annual Fair – mid August
Málaga’s renowned fair takes place daily from noon to 19.00 in the city centre which is packed with thousands of people filling the streets and bars, dancing and enjoying themselves. At night people celebrate in the ‘Real’, an open air place filled with traditional Andalucian tents and stalls, with dancing, drinking and general partying.
SAN PEDRO: Fair of San Pedro de Alcantára – mid October
A week of festivities and celebrations throughout the town centre by day and at the local rastro ground by night.