SHARE
COPY LINK

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?

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

COVID-19

Spain rules out EU’s advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 

Spain’s Health Ministry said Thursday there will be no mandatory vaccination in the country following the European Commission’s advice to Member States to “think about it” and Germany’s announcement that it will make vaccines compulsory in February.

Spain rules out EU's advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 
A Spanish man being vaccinated poses with a custom-made T-shirt showing Spain's chief epidimiologist Fernando Simón striking a 'Dirty Harry/Clint Eastwood' pose over the words "What part of keep a two-metre distance don't you understand?' Photo: José Jordan

Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias on Thursday told journalists Covid-19 vaccines will continue to be voluntary in Spain given the “very high awareness of the population” with regard to the benefits of vaccination.

This follows the words of European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday, urging Member States to “think about mandatory vaccination” as more cases of the Omicron variant are detected across Europe. 

READ ALSO: Is Spain proving facts rather than force can convince the unvaccinated?

“I can understand that countries with low vaccine coverage are contemplating this and that Von der Leyen is considering opening up a debate, but in our country the situation is absolutely different,” Darias said at the press conference following her meeting with Spain’s Interterritorial Health Council.

According to the national health minister,  this was also “the general belief” of regional health leaders of each of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities she had just been in discussion with over Christmas Covid measures. 

READ MORE: Spain rules out new restrictions against Omicron variant

Almost 80 percent of Spain’s total population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, a figure which is around 10 percent higher if looking at those who are eligible for the vaccine (over 12s). 

It has the highest vaccination rate among Europe’s most populous countries.

Germany announced tough new restrictions on Thursday in a bid to contain its fourth wave of Covid-19 aimed largely at the country’s unvaccinated people, with outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking in favour of compulsory vaccinations, which the German parliament is due to vote on soon.

Austria has also already said it will make Covid-19 vaccines compulsory next February, Belgium is also considering it and Greece on Tuesday said it will make vaccination obligatory for those over 60.

But for Spain, strict Covid-19 vaccination rules have never been on the table, having said from the start that getting the Covid-19 jabs was voluntary. 

There’s also a huge legal implication to imposing such a rule which Spanish courts are unlikely to look on favourably. 

Stricter Covid restrictions and the country’s two states of alarm, the first resulting in a full national lockdown from March to May 2020, have both been deemed unconstitutional by Spain’s Constitutional Court. 

READ ALSO: Could Spain lock down its unvaccinated or make Covid vaccines compulsory?

The Covid-19 health pass to access indoor public spaces was also until recently consistently rejected by regional high courts for breaching fundamental rights, although judges have changed their stance favouring this Covid certificate over old Covid-19 restrictions that affect the whole population.

MAP: Which regions in Spain now require a Covid health pass for daily affairs?

“In Spain what we have to do is to continue vaccinating as we have done until now” Darias added. 

“Spaniards understand that vaccines are not only a right, they are an obligation because we protect others with them”.

What Spanish health authorities are still considering is whether to vaccinate their 5 to 11 year olds after the go-ahead from the European Medicines Agency, with regions such as Madrid claiming they will start vaccinating their young children in December despite there being no official confirmation from Spain’s Vaccine Committee yet.

READ MORE: Will Spain soon vaccinate its children under 12?

Spain’s infection rate continues to rise day by day, jumping 17 points up to 234 cases per 100,000 people on Thursday. There are now also five confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the country, one through community transmission.

Hospital bed occupancy with Covid patients has also risen slightly nationwide to 3.3 percent, as has ICU Covid occupancy which now stands at 8.4 percent, but the Spanish government insists these figures are “almost three times lower” than during previous waves of the coronavirus pandemic.

SHOW COMMENTS