Festivals are extremely popular in Granada and have been for centuries. If you love festivals, feast days and celebrations then you are bound to find something to suit you in Granada regardless of the time of year you visit this historical place. Like many parts of the world, Christmas and New Year is a time for celebration in Granada, although they do things slightly different to say a British or American Christmas. Children and adults enjoy many Nativity scenes and Christmas carols ring out into the streets, but it is January 5th that is an important date because the Three Kings, or Reyes Magos, arrive in town and bring toys and sweets for the children. January 6th is the Spanish equivalent to Christmas Day in the United Kingdom and United States.
The next festival takes place on the first Sunday of February and this is the San Cecilio. Granada;s residents traditionally visit the catacombs and the Monastery of Sacromonte. During the pilgrimage to the Monastery, girls of marriageable age touch the white stone if they want to get married or touch the other side of the stone it they do not want to get married.Two months later it is time for Holy Week, or Semana Santa as it is known in Granada. Pasos, or floats of thrones with religious icons, proceed through the streets. Easter dates change every year but in Spain these festivals take place in the last week of Lent.
A very popular festival is the Dia de la Cruz, or Day of the Cross, which is celebrated on May 3rd every year. The tradition dates back to 1625 when a cross was erected in the San Lazaro district and the locals sang and danced around it. These days, various parts of Granada decorate crosses with flowers and try to compete for a prize. It is not unusual to see traditional andalusian dress on women and children along with andalusian horses parading the streets.
Corpus Christi is perhaps the most important feast in Granada and it takes place for a full week. During this week, there are celebrations all over Granada including puppet shows, processions, residents decorate their balconies, several exhibitions and even bullfighting. This festival takes place 60 days after Easter Monday, so it changes every year, although it usually falls in June. Two major processions take place during Corpus Christi. The first is of pagan origin and is called Tarasca. Here, a figure of a woman on a dragon is accompanied by giants and characters wearing oversized papier mache heads.
The second procession is a more solemn affair and is highly religious. This takes place on the Thursday. Some of the other established festivals include the Festival of Our Lady which celebrates the Virgin Mary on the last Sunday of September and features a beautiful procession, and the Commemoration of the Discovery of America on October 12 which celebrates one of the most important discoveries in Spanish history and features a flower offering at the Monumento de las Capitulaciones.