For centuries the festivals of Granada have been very popular. At the time of the Nazari kingdom people played reeds and bulls and celebrated other religious festivals in Granada..
The magical atmosphere of Granada is reflected in all works created by romantic writers and painters inspired by the experiences, rituals, and by the lush bouquet of festivities throughout the year.
There are many significant dates, religious and cultural festivals in Granada, here we review the most important.
Día de la Toma (January)
On 2 January is the commemoration of the conquest of Granada by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492, which was the last Muslim stronghold on the peninsula. On this day official events are held at the Royal Chapel and at the City Hall.
San Cecilio in Granada – Saint of Granada
On 1 February is the day of the Patron of the city of Granada. It is a tradition to visit the catacombs and the Monastery of Sacromonte.
San Cecilio is celebrated on the first Sunday of February, on this day there is a pilgrimage that goes up to the Sacromonte to the catacombs of the saint. People say that San Cecilio was one of the three envoys, the other two were Isio and Tesifón, sent by St. Peter to Spain for evangelization.
When they were gathered in the catacombs of this mountain with nine other priests they were surrounded by the Romans and martyred. His disciples wrote the story in a lead sheet and hid it between two stones, one white and one black, that were thrown into the river Darro. Found in 1595, were sent to Rome, where the originals are preserved, in order to confirm its authenticity.
After that date were built an abbey and collegiate near the catacombs. During the pilgrimage, the girls of marriageable age touch the white stone if they want to get married or touch the other side of the stone if they dont want. So you know, the choice is yours.
San Cecilio is a working day in Granada.
Holly Week or Semana Santa and Easter Events in Granada
The day when Holly Week day starts is variable, between March 22 and April 25. Holly Week in Granada is very different from other parts of Andalusia despite several points in common.
The events that you should not miss are: Cristo de los Gitanos (Christ of the Gypsies) in Sacromonte on Holy Wednesday, Santa Maria of the Alhambra which takes place on Saturday night in the grounds of the Alhambra which is very well lit for the occasion. Also known as Our Lady of Sorrows.
Holy Week in Granada is distinguished by the simplicity and the beauty of its steps.
Day of the Cross (May)
On the 3rd of May the streets and squares of Granada are adorned with the crosses with flowers, dances and festivals are held. You will find some courtyards decorated in the Albaycin, San Miguel Bajo, and in Realejo in the Campo del Principe.
Corpus Christi in Granada (June)
It was officially created by the Catholic Monarchs as the Main Festival after the taking of the city. They copied the model form Seville’s one that, by the time, was the most sumptuous of Spain.
The parade or procesión to honour the Custody that contained the Corpus Christi (Latin for Body of Christ) was formed by all the parishes of the city and the towns around the Vega valley which also covered all the way through with a special kind of sedge, known as juncia, From the beginning, Archbishop Hernando de Talavera wanted every sector of the population of Granada to be represented and it is so that the entourage included also ‘zambras moriscas’ (Moorish dances). Different carriages paraded where religious scenes were depicted and theatre plays took place. The parade reached such magnitude that years after, in 1573 the so-known as Constituciones Sinodales were established in order to regulate the solemn parade and the kind of shows that it should contain.
As it is known, the “Paseo de la Ciudad” also took place since 1632, which consisted on some kind of festival parade with little demons, giants, big-headed ones, and the mythical Tarasca, a woman on a dragon.
These two parades have remained until our days. And so, the public parade “La Pública” takes place on Wednesday, which is a celebration aimed to children and young ones, being the Tarasca its main character: a mannequin on a dragon that it is supposed to wear the clothes to be trendy next season. And on Thursday, the Big Day, the religious parade which nowadays shows a throne made by the goldsmith and sculptor from Granada, Miguel Moreno.
The tradition of raising altars alongside the parade’s route is still kept.
In Bib-rramble Square, the so-called “Carocas” are shown. The Carocas are cartoons and little poems concerning, in a satirical way, the different events that took place in the city during the last year.
The “Feria” or Festival, which starts on Monday previous to Thrusday’s Corpus Christi Day and finishes on the next Sunday, it is located on the outskirts of the city with music stalls and attractions.
Nuestra Señora de las Angustias (September)
Last Sunday in September. Our Lady of Sorrows is the feast of the patron saint of the city. The facade of the church is covered with flowers carried by the devotees and creates a nice vertical floral mosaic. There are also processions, festivals and bullfights.
San Miguel (September)
In the Arabic domination period there was a legend that told that at the famous Cerro del Aceituno –Hill of Aceituno-(also Cerro de los Diablos –Hill of the Devil-) there were a miraculous olive tree that was able to offer its fruits in just one day with all the maturation process all of a sudden. This gave place a celebration on the Ankara day near a tower which was erected there.
After the Cristian conquest of the city the place changed its name to Cerro de los Ángeles –Hill of the Angels- and a chapel was built where mass took place in 1673 for the first time. This chapel was demolished by the French in 1810. However thanks to the determination of the Brotherhood it was built again in 1828.
Although it is the festival of the Albaicin neighbourhood, it has a huge impact in all the population of Granada who assists to the religious parade on the Hill of S. Miguel, near the chapel.