Festivities in Galicia

As a foreigner coming to Spain I experienced that there is indeed something true about the well-known stereotype: Spanish people love having big fiestas. There is something magical in those days when the whole city is dancing and singing on the streets all dressed up, drinking cerveza and wine and eating choripan or croquetas. Let me present you a few of the festivities held in Galicia.

  1. Furanchada

Visiting some Furanchos (I visited a few in Bembrive, close to Vigo) you have the perfect opportunity to get to know more about Galician culture and people. A Furancho is a bar (usually small but size can differ) opened by Galician wine owners in their house, garage or backyard. These places have a nice atmosphere with traditional decoration, background music (lots of times live music) and with the smell of the goods made in their kitchen. If you ever visit Vigo in the end of January I recommend you visiting a Furancho and enjoy the company of the locals.

2. Carnival

Carnival is the biggest and most colourful party on my list marking the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Interestingly, the carnivals in Galicia were celebrated even during the Franco era, this way the cultural tradition survived in its original form. Lots of Galician cities and towns have their own traditional carnival wear (you can see a few of them on the photo) that attract many tourists from year to year. Obviously there is no party in Galicia without food and drinks, you can buy your favourite Galician dishes right on the street.




3. Reconquista

You may have never heard of this festivity because it is a local one celebrated only in and around Vigo. Reconquista is the time when Galician people celebrate their ancestors taking back their land from the army of Napoleon in the beginning of the 19th century and it is celebrated in the end of March (officially on the 28th). During the Reconquista the old town of Vigo is full of wine and food stands, musicians playing traditional Galician music and people dressed up in authentic Galician and French costumes (mocking the French army).


4. San Pepe (José)

The 19th of March is fathers’ day in many catholic countries thanks to the father of Jesus Christ, San José. In Spain this day has been celebrated since 1948 as a result of an initially small movement in Madrid lead by a teacher called Vicenta Ferrero. Sadly this year the celebration couldn’t be held due to the virus but in other years there is a huge celebration at universities because San José is also considered to be the patron saint of industrial engineers.





5. San Juan (the longest day of the year)

San Juan’s night has been celebrated in different ways from country to country over the last centuries. The 23rd of June is the longest day and shortest night of the year and in Galicia people get together to celebrate it. On this day it is allowed to make bonfires on the beaches so the citizens of Vigo usually go to Praya de Samil to enjoy the end of a beautiful summer day. Originally the bonfires were lit to show respect towards the sun for blessing the soil with crops, and to chase the evil spirits away.