Fiesta dates for Oliva
(all dates are approximate)
The Three Kings - Procession and distribution of presents to the children.
Els Porrats - Fiesta of Saint Anthony. Fiesta includes a mediaeval street market in the old moorish quarter and the tasting of the traditional 'caldera' - stew made from local vegetables.
Fiesta of Saint Blai.
FEBRUARY - dates vary
Carnestoltes - Carnival. Fancy dress parades, processions, children's games, marching bands and dancing in the streets through the night to live music.
MARCH - dates vary, usually 16th - 19th
FALLAS - The traditional Valencian festival of Saint Joseph the carpenter. Originally a contest amongst carpenters to create an effigy of the Saint, it has escalated to become one of the most spectacular fiestas of the calendar year, with municipal districts competing for the prize for the best papier mache monument. Each year the monuments get bigger and better with more and more money invested in creating incredible 50-100ft high Disney-type cartoon depictions of both current event and political characters together with fictional figures. Hundreds of thousands of Euros are spent each year in building these monuments which are all burnt in the final ceremonial act of the celebrations. Festivities include, processions with participants wearing elaborate traditional costumes, street entertainment, fireworks and live music. The largest fiesta of this kind is held in the city of Valencia, where up to 300 massive monuments block the busy streets of the capital and commercial life comes to a halt. Here a 150ft high statue of the Virgen Mary is built out of flowers brought by participants of a day long procession through the city streets. This is a fiesta you will never forget.
APRIL - dates vary
EASTER - Throughout Spain the week of Easter (Semana Santa) is celebrated with somber religious processions, usually entailing an effigy of Jesus on the Cross being carried through the streets followed by mourners wearing black and carrying candles. Spaniards of all ages take part and one cannot help being struck by the sense of community and dedication to tradition that the celebrations reflect.
APRIL - dates vary, usually around Easter
BULL-RUNNING - The famous bull running event is held in many towns at different times of the year all over Spain. Large, generally aggressive bulls are let loose in designated streets to chase after those who think they are fast enough to jump out of their way, run behind the many wooden barricades or into the steel cages set up for their protection, before they get gored. Not for the faint hearted, and definitely best left to those with more experience as it is not as easy as it looks. The bulls are very fast and many people - usually foreigners - get hurt, and occasionally killed each year due to them tripping and falling before they manage to get to safety. These bulls have large horns, and will attack through fear. Hundreds of people attend the events, sitting upon makeshift platforms above the streets or standing within the steel cages. It can become rather noisy with everyone shouting and jeering at the bulls who naturally feel trapped and we all know how a cornered wild animal reacts to this kind of situation.
MAY 1st - 3rd
Fiesta of Crist de Sant Roc - Festival celebrating the conversion to Christianity of the resident Moors, which has been celebrated in Oliva since the 17th century. Events include processions in period costume, the cross made out of flowers, dancing and Mass celebrated in the Chapel of Christ.
JUNE - dates vary, usually third weekend in June until the first week of July
Fira i Festes Majors d'Oliva - Festivities include processions, dancing in the streets, live music, sporting events and firework displays. In ancient times, the Oliva fiesta was an annual reunion of merchants and negotiators of all types but today all thought of business are forgotten for the duration and the residents concentrate on having fun. During this time the towns commercial activity virtually shuts down as celebrations go on practically 24 hours a day. Additional events include a motor show.
JULY - dates vary, usually the third weekend
Moors and Christians Fiesta. - This festival is celebrated all over Spain as their history is deeply rooted in the battles which took place over control of Spain in the 13th to 15th century. Each fiesta is a theatrical performance with participants dressed in elaborate and expensive costumes depicting both sides of the battle. The music played by the live orchestras is especially composed for the fiesta and is very dramatic. Battles are re-enacted using replicas of the weapons used so it can become a little noisy.
Procession in honour of the Patron Saint of Sailors, Virgen del Carme.
During the month of August, various concerts and theatrical events are held.
SEPTEMBER 1st - 8th
Fiesta in honour of the towns Patron Saint, Mary "Rebollet". Each town has its Patron Saint and a fiesta is held in their honour which usually last one week. The most popular event is the pilgrimage to the castle. Participants begin by selecting a cane at the Santa Maria square from which they hang a pumpkin, they then accompany the effigy of the Virgin to the castle where they celebrate Mass. At the end of Mass the participants share out drinks and fruit.
Fiesta in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi.