Social Customs And Traditions
Known among Spain's folkloristical traditions are certainly Flamenco and bullfights. Bullfights you will find indeed throughout the country, the most popular event perhaps being the Running of Bulls during the Sanfermines in Pamplona. Flamenco, on the other hand, is the musical tradition in the country's south, in particular in Andalusia. In April, in Seville, Feria de Abril takes place. An entire week of singing and dancing and trying that great Sherry wine, those delicious tasty snacks called Tapas and more Sherry wine.
Another most popular event of religious origin is El Rocio, a traditional pilgimship to the village El Rocio in the province of Huelva, in May. This pilgrimship anyhow is not too solemn and serious. Follow the thousands who each year travel there and have yourself a ball. Other outstanding Fiesta are "Las Fallas de San José" in Valencia, in March, the city becomes the scenery of an enormous party with lots of good mood and fireworks. In San Sebastian during February, La Tamburrada takes place. Madrid has its Fiesta, "San Isidro", in May.
Carnival is popular in all the country, the best is in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, but if you are at the peninsula, Cadiz and Sitges are the places to go. Ceremonia del Tributo de las tres Vacas takes place in Roncal valley, on July, 13th. A contract from 1375 obligates the inhabitants of the french Baretous valley to pay an annual tribute in form of three cows to the people of Piedra San Martín. The ceremony is executed by the town-mayors, in medieval gowns.
On May, 25th takes place a festival of traditional regional dances, called Baile de la Era, in Estella. On June, 24th, pilgrims of all the region come together in a cave close to the Hermitage of San Juan de Xar, in Yanci, to wash themselves in the water of its three springs. Illnesses are said to be cured by that in a miraculous way. Flamenco is a genuine Spanish art, and to be more exact an genuine Southern Spanish art. It exists in three forms: Cante, the song, Baile, the dance, and Guitarra, guitar playing.
Flamenco dance arrived to its climax, being the major attraction for the public of those cafés cantantes. Guitar players featuring the dancers increasingly gained a reputation. From 1915 on Flamenco shows were organized and performed all over the world. Anyhow, not everybody was enchanted with that development and intellectuals such as Falla organized 1922 in Granada a contest to promote authentical cante jondo.
Bullfighting is certainly one of the best known, although at the same time most polemical Spanish popular customs. This Fiesta could not exist without the Toro Bravo, a species of bull of an archaical race that is only conserved in Spain. Formerly this bull's forebears, the primitive urus, were spread out over wide parts of the world. The Bible reports on sacrifices of bulls in honour to the divine justice.
A Corrida starts with the paseillo, with everybody involved in the bullfight entering the ring and presenting himself to the public. Two Alguacilillos, on horse's back, direct themselves to the presidency and symbolically ask for the keys to the puerta de los toriles. Behind that door there are the bulls. With the door being opened and the first bull entering the ring the spectacle starts.