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WHATS ON

What’s on in Spain: Seven reasons to love September

From Roman battle re-enactments to literary festivals, there are lots of great events happening in Spain this September.

What's on in Spain: Seven reasons to love September
Photo: Mimsueca.com

Fiestas

Carthaginians and Romans Festival, Cartagena, Murcia (September 20th – 29st) 


Photo: Spain.info

Originally from Lebanon, the Cathaginians fled to the Mediterranean after they were invaded and became seafaring traders.  It was too bad that the Romans also fancied a bit of maritime trade – as well as conquering more and more land – and this fiesta in Cartagena involves re-enactments of the warfare, eventually to be won by the Romans.

Fiestas de la Mare de Deu de la Salut Algemesí, Valencia (September 7th -8th)


Photo: Juanjo Ripollés / Flickr

This festival dates back to the Middle Ages and has now been recognised by UNESCO has an Intangible Cultural Heritage event. More than 1400 people participate in the main event – a parade of giants, featuring King James I of Aragon, his wife and many figures from the bible.  as with any Valencia festivals, paella is a main component and be sure to try some of the local seafood varieties.

Fiesta De La Mercé, Barcelona (September 20th – 24th)


Photo: Miquel González / Flickr

Free music concerts are held for this festival which is held in honour of the city’s patron saint, Our Lady of Mercy.  Expect the usual Catalan partying – sardana-dancing, fireworks and human towers galore. 

Culture

San Sebastián International Film Festival, Basque Country (September 20th – 28th)

In late September San Sebastian proudly host their world famous film festival and this year, Hollywood legend Donald Sutherland will be receiving a lifetime achievement award.
 
 
Literature
 
Hay Festival Segovia, Segovia (September 19th -22nd)
 

The city of Segovia hosts this prestigious international literary event which was created in 1998 and brings together approximately fifty acclaimed authors and artists from different countries.

For four days, readings, talks and discussions on books and literature fill different venues and halls around the city. And this year the Hay Festival has extended its programme to include exhibitions, concerts, film sessions and a whole series of cultural activities, thus turning the event into a genuine celebration of the arts.

 
Theatre

International Mime Festival, Sueca in Valencia. (September 18th – 22nd)


Photo: Mimsueca.com

The only festival in Spain dedicated exclusively to gestural theatre, it is considered one of the three most important in Europe.  With events for wannabe clowns to performances in mime, pantomime, clowning and circus techniques, there is lots of fun for all the family.

Sport

La Vuelta, cycling race across Spain (Ends in Madrid September 15th) 


Photo: AFP

Participants in Spain's most important cycling race cover more than 3,200 kms in 21 stages across the plains, mountains and lowlands of Spain. Spectators turn out in crowds to cheer the cyclists on as they pass through towns along the route ending in Madrid with a big celebration.

READ ALSO: Quiz: How well do you know Spain's fiestas?

FIESTAS

The fiestas that definitely won’t happen in Spain this year

Pamplona’s famous running of the bulls festival has been cancelled for the second year running, joining a long list of events across Spain that have become casualties of the coronavirus pandemic.

The fiestas that definitely won’t happen in Spain this year
San Fermin is cancelled for the second year. Photos: AFP

“An international festival like San Fermin, in which millions of people come to Navarra, just won’t be possible,” said regional premier Maria Chivite on Tuesday in an announcement that came as a surprise to no-one.

The ten-day festival takes place each year from July 6thand has gained global fame after Ernest Hemingway wrote about it in his 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises”.

Last year’s cancellation was the first in over four decades – it was cancelled in 1978 after a student was shot when pro-Eta protests turned violent and was suspended midway in 1997 again over tensions with Eta supporters – but the last time Pamplona did not celebrate San Fermin two years in a row was during the civil war in the 1930s.

However, it is not the only celebration to be called off in 2021 and is unlikely to be the last cancellation of the summer.

Las Fallas


A fallas figure from 2021 complete with face mask. Photo: AFP

So far, Valencia authorities have announced Las Fallas, the first big festival of the year will not take place this year.

Usually celebrated between March 15 and 19 in the Mediterranean coastal city, teams work year round to produce elaborate paper mâché models that are displayed before being set alight in a fiery finale accompanied by fire works.

Estimates put the economic impact of the cancellation of Las Fallas at around half a billion euros.

Semana Santa


Easter crowds like this won't be allowed. Photo: AFP

 

It seems very unlikely that Easter will be allowed to be celebrated in the usual way in Spain. Seville and Malaga which are both famous for the processions held during Semana Santa have already announced that they won’t be taking place this year.

Feria de Abril

Seville took the decision back in December to announce that its April fair wouldn’t be going ahead in 2021.

The spring festival that sees residents dress in traditional Andalusian attire and gather in casetas to dance, eat and drink usually takes place in April.

Trade fairs

Barcelona has postponed its Mobile World Congress, a huge tech event that usually takes place in March and hopes to hold it between June 28 and July 1 instead.

Likewise, Madrid has delayed its tourism trade fair Fitur, moving the event from the end of January to the week of May 19-23.

The Art fair Arco will also be shifted until July 7-11 and Madrid Fashion Week delayed from the end of January to April 8th.

READ MORE:  How likely is it that we can travel in Spain at Easter?

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