All of us are thankful when Bank Holidays come around. A day off from work for no apparent reason! At least that’s the way they’re portrayed in the UK.
Did you know the bank holiday name stems from a real Act of Parliament dating back to 1871? For the first time, it stipulated four specific days in England and Wales and five in Scotland which were added to the days already protected in common law, such as Christmas Day.
There’s even a mechanism in the UK to ensure that if a bank holiday falls on a weekend, you don’t ‘lose’ that valuable day off and you get a day off ‘in lieu’.
If that’s the situation in the UK for the Brits, what’s it like in southern Spain when you’re on holiday with CLC World Resorts & Hotels, for example?
Well, there are lots of holidays, it seems. Lots and lots. But they’re not known as ‘bank holidays’. You’re more likely to hear the term ‘fiesta day’.
In Spain, there are obviously national days off; probably one of the most famous and certainly one of the newest, falls every year on the 6th of December. This is Constitution Day which celebrates December 1978 when the people of Spain voted for a new constitution, marking the country’s transition from dictatorship under Franco to democracy.
Another big holiday in Spain and one that’s very different from the UK, is related to Christmas. Christmas Eve is celebrated with a family get-together, but children in Spain traditionally get their presents on the 6th January, or Three Kings’ Day.
‘El Dia de los Reyes’ – Epiphany – celebrates the arrival of the three wise men bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the baby Jesus.
In some families the children will put a shoe box stuffed with grass under their beds for the wise men’s camels. In the morning, that has magically disappeared to be replaced with a gift ‘left’ by the three kings.
Alongside such national holidays, there are also provincial or state holidays. For instance, Andalucia Day is celebrated on 28th February. This marks the day in 1980, when the people of Andalucia voted to become an autonomous community. In 2019, it’ll be on a Thursday if you’re planning to be in southern Spain on that day.
Towns, villages and public squares are decorated with the green and white state flag and there are often celebrations of Andalucian culture laid on. Most businesses take the opportunity to close and give their workers the day off but many restaurants will still be open. They’re hoping to attract families looking to celebrate with a long meal in the time-honoured Spanish tradition.
An interesting point to note if you think the roads are suddenly oddly empty either side of a state holiday, is the Spanish habit of taking ‘bridge’ days. If a public holiday falls on a Tuesday, Spaniards will sometimes take the day off in between as a holiday – a practice which is known as ‘Puente’.
Unlike the UK, where bank holidays are days off taken nationally, smallish towns and ‘district’ council areas in Spain also have specific days off. These are usually, but not always, religion-based.
In Mijas Costa, the geographical and administrative area where CLC World in Spain is based, there are local holidays on 25th July and 8th September. The September date celebrates the patron saint of Mijas, ‘the Virgen de la Peña’ and means civic celebrations involving dance, music and plenty of partying!
In Benalmádena, as in many coastal towns, on the 16th July, the patron saint of fishermen is honoured with sailors taking a decorated carving of the Virgin out to sea on a ship while the waters of the Mediterranean are blessed.
In Fuengirola, the closest large town to Club La Costa World, the Feria del Rosario in October is a week-long traditional Spanish fair with many businesses closing for part of the festival. It is marked by flamenco dancing, the arrivals of horses and carriages from all over the Costa del Sol, and fireworks along with other events which are usually centred on the town’s fairground.
There’s no doubt that Spaniards know how to throw a party and they usually involve all age groups from the very young to the very elderly. If you find yourself suddenly caught up in one, it’s best to go with the flow. They’re not just for the Spanish, they’re for everyone…another reason to holiday with CLC World.