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FESTIVALS

What’s on in Spain: November 2014

November in Spain is bursting at the seams for lovers of art, culture, food and sport. Find out what's on as The Local showcases the best the country has to offer in the month before Christmas.

Arts

Primavera Club 2014, October 31st–November 2nd, Barcelona: Big names in club music come together to crank out tunes that will keep you dancing all night (and all day as well if you want). Best of all, a ticket to the whole event will only set you back €25 ($32).

Madrid en Danza, November 6th–November 30th: Dance companies from 23 countries descend on the Spanish capital to offer styles from ballet to urban to flamenco and everything else in between. Not to be missed. 

Cartegena Jazz FestivalNovember 1st–November 22nd: Beautiful Cartegena is in November hosting big names including Macy Gray, Branford Marsalis and Cat Power.   

Seville European Film Festival, November 7th–November 15th: This popular event showcases the best of European cinema in a public-friendly format. On offer are features, documentaries and short films. This year Austrian cinema will come under the spotlight while the festival will also see the Spanish debut of UK director Mike Leigh's film Mr Turner.        

Opera: Mozart's Don Giovanni, Seville, November 21st–November 29th: Don't miss the chance to see Mozart's opera at Seville's glorious Maestranza Theatre.  

Barcelona, Zona Neutral, Fundación Miro, Barcelona, October 25th 2014–February 15th 2015: During the First World War, Barcelona was a hot bed of culture as artists escaped the conflict in Europe by heading to the city. This exhibition about a unique era features films, photography, advertising materials and much more.

Zinebi documentary and short film festival, Bilbao, November 14th–November 21st. A highly-rated festival featuring documentaries and short films from around the world.  

Culture

Tosantos, Cádiz, October 31st/November 1st: November 1st is a national holiday in Spain to mark All Saints Day, when families traditionally visit the graves of their ancestors and honour their memory. However, many places like to start off the mourning process with a bit of a party and Cádiz leads the way when it comes to Halloween night japery.

The Andalusian city celebrates Tosantos by focusing on its local food produce on the eve of All Saints Day, with locals typically dressing up as rabbits, pigs and chickens lurking around the city’s main markets. Fruit and vegetables are often used to satirize social realities and politicians and other public figures from Cádiz, Spain, the sensationalist media or the world are put together in an edible and humorous manner. 

Food

Valladolid National Tapas and Pinchos Competition, November 3rd–November 5th: Watch on as some of Spain's best chefs battle it out to take home the prize for the best tapas and pinchos in the country.

Gourmet Tapas Competition, Córdoba, 14th to 23rd November: This two-pronged festival is dedicated to food from Córdoba and from Latin America — appropriate as the city has been named as Gourmet Capital of Latin-American culinary culture for 2014. This year 39 establishments are taking part, and there are 73 tapas on offer.  

Sport

Real Madrid versus Liverpool, November 4th: Ten-time European champions Real Madrid take on five-time winners Liverpool at the Spanish capital's iconic Santiago Bernabéu stadium. Real Madrid, the current holders of the title could be without Welsh star Gareth Bale while Liverpool have this season failed to reach the heights that saw them come second in the English Premiere League 2013–2014.    

Madrid Horse Week, November 26th–November 30th: Madrid Horse Week is Spain's major horse riding event: a multidisciplinary affair where spectators can do everything from ride ponies to watch the prestigious Madrid leg of the Show Jumping World Cup. Stars at the event include Hugo Simon, John Whitaker, Rodrigo Pessoa and Ludger Berbaum.

Have we missed an event? Let us know in the comments field below.

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FESTIVALS

In Pictures: Spain’s Fallas festival returns after pandemic pause

Valencia's Fallas festival wrapped up with fireworks and the burning of colourful sculptures on Sunday after returning to the eastern Spanish city following a pandemic-induced hiatus.

In Pictures: Spain's Fallas festival returns after pandemic pause
Ninots (cardboard effigies) burn as one installation of the Fallas Festival is set alight in Valencia on September 5, 2021. Photos: José Jordan/AFP

The five-day festival is traditionally held in March but was cancelled last year as the Covid-19 pandemic swept Spain. This year, officials postponed the start of the UNESCO-recognised event until September 1st.

It was the first time that the festival was suspended since the end of Spain’s 1936-39 Civil War.

Each year, residents make hundreds of colourful puppet-like sculptures — some as big as a four-storey building — out of wood, plaster and papier-mache for the festival.

Called “ninots”, the sculptures depict fairytale characters and cartoonish effigies of politicians and celebrities.

One ensemble from this year’s event was inspired by the hit Spanish Netflix series “Money Heist”. It depicted several people wearing red overalls and Salvador Dali face masks like the main characters in the show.

The ninots are displayed in the streets of the Mediterranean city and then burned on the last day of the festival — in a bonfire called the “Cremà” — in a centuries-old tradition honouring St Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters.

Fireworks lit up the night sky as this year’s bonfire, which features about 750 sculptures, was held without the thousands of spectators that the event usually draws.

The bonfire was brought forward by two hours to allow festivities to end before a nightly virus curfew came into effect at 1:00 am (2300 GMT).

After much debate a customary flower offering to the Virgin Mary was allowed to proceed — but without people lining the route, as is tradition.

“These are not Fallas as such, more like Fallas-related events that comply with health regulations,” said Valencia mayor Joan Ribo.

The Fallas festival is believed to have originated from pagan rituals marking the end of winter.

The pandemic has forced the cancellation of many of Spain’s most famous fiestas, including Pamplona’s bull-running festival and Seville’s Holy Week processions.

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