Spain has a vibrant history of colourful fiestas and holidays celebrated each year. Here we have concentrated predominantly on displaying the festivals celebrated in Javea and the surrounding areas throughout the year.

1st January

In Xàbia it has been traditional for many years for brave ex-pats to gather on the Arenal beach and run into the chilly Mediterranean Sea at 1.00pm, an apparently perfect cure for the hangover. But it’s all in a good cause as the event raises thousands of euros for charity. To be honest, it’s more of a ‘stand about’ than an actual swim but it’s a perfect community event to kick off the year, attracting several hundred courageous dippers every year. The Christmas season ends with the arrival of the Three Kings.

6th January

The Three Kings Festival. Typically a float and dance parade where the three kings of orient: Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar, along with their pages and entourage throw sweets and small toys to the onlooking children. Celebrated during the afternoon of the 5th January. In recent years, Father Christmas has become popular. However, local Spanish resident sway more to the three kings celebrations over Christmas.

7th-31st January –

Fiesta of San Antonio is an animal procession in Javea ‘Fira i porrat de San Antoni’ is traditionally a celebration heeded by the agricultural society for the saints in exchange for a good harvest and fertile cattle. During these three weeks kids can have fun at the amusement fair located at Palmela avenue, in addition to traditional acts such as the blessing of the animals, horse parade (where kids can enjoy horse and cart rides) and the ‘Cremá del Pi’ (Burning of the pine tree) is celebrated.

February & March

12th – Carnival, a word originating from the Italian tongue, ‘Carnevale’ means ‘meat can be eaten’. Usually beginning with a parade of the towns children in fancy dress, after which is a musical show for them. Giving way to the adult celebration of a colourful parade of fancy dress costumes, ending in the Plaza de la Constitution with mobile disco and bar, until the early hours of the morning. Traditionally, after carnival in Javea, the burial of the sardine is celebrated a week later. During which a sardine is symbolically burned, representing the vices and debauchery that emerged during the party celebration. The fire is again, as in many traditions of the Mediterranean, symbol of regeneration and purification, leaving everything bad in the ashes.

When almond trees are in blossom, February is the ideal time to see the Jalon Valley turn into what can only be described as a spectacular display of pink candy floss shades. The best locations to see the blossom are between Jalon and Parcent and it only lasts two weeks.

April & May

17th Apr Easter – Pascua – is a major religious celebration in Spain and Xàbia has a full devotional programme to mark this special event. As it’s the biggest religious celebration of the year – much bigger than Christmas. Palm Sunday takes place on the Sunday before Easter Sunday. Families get dressed up in their ‘Sunday Best’ and attend a special mass. There is a short parade, the young girls carrying intricate sculptures made from palm leaves, the boys holding simpler designs whilst the adults carry tall single branches.

1st May Day – tends to be the day that is dedicated to children with giant inflatables, rides on traditional horse-drawn carts and mobile shows going on throughout the historic centre. The arrival of May also sees several decorated crosses appear through the old town, many of them made from colourful flowers. Each year, the mayorales, who are residents (always male) who are selected by the drawing of lots the year before to represent the fiesta, are responsible for placing crosses outside their homes.

3rd – Although San Sebastian is the patron saint of Jávea, the fiestas in honor of Jesús Nazareno are more deeply rooted with the ‘Xabiencs’ (Javea/Xàbia townsfolk) showing greater devotion. The figurine of Nazareno resides in the Calvario church until the third Sunday of Lent, on which during the start of festivities is taken on parade through the town, ending in a spectacular firework display. This celebration traditionally offers ‘bous al carrer’ (street bull running) and a beautiful variation of ‘May Crosses’.

June

14th-24th  Summers arrival is massively celebrated across the whole of Spain with the bonfires of San Joan, with those of the Mediterranean coast being the most popular. Celebrated between 14-24 June. A festivity of ancient origin, in which rituals and other activities are mixed with fire, gunpowder, water and music. The program of San Joan fiestas in Javea is varied and colourful; including sports activities, parades, musical performances and concerts, offerings of flowers in the procession of the ‘Ofrenda de flores’. It’s a celebration for all tastes and ages. Very popular are the bull running, Correfocs (fire running) and nit dels focs (fire night). These festivities end on the 24th June with the burning of the bonfire with a spectacular pyro-musical fireworks show.

 23rd – Since time can remember, Jávea/Xàbia has celebrated the Nit dels Focs (Firenight) with the arrival of the summer solstice. A consolidated  event within the San Joan fiestas. The Nit dels Focs in Javea is a magical mysterious night, with true Mediterranean character, as it runs through the unmatched surroundings of Javea’s historical centre. The eve of 23rd June begins with the ‘cremà dels focs’ (fires burning) where there used to be access doors in the old fort wall. Bonfires prepared for people to jump over, whilst wearing flower crowns on their heads. All the ‘Penyas’ (individual groups of people/clubs who meet and do activities together) who form the San Joan fiestas, taking part dressed in their coloured blouses with distinct emblems . A night ending with the most amazing and spectacular ‘Correfocs’ (Fire running) following a route that corresponds to the old layout of what was the fort walled town of Javea.

July

18th – Moors and Christians is celebrated in Javea on the third week of July, at Javea port ‘Aduanas del Mar’, with colourful parades and the re-enactment of historical events such as the Muslim landing from the sea, the capture of the castle by the Christians and the surrender of Muslim troops. A festivity representing the clashes that took place during the Moorish invasion and the subsequent Christian reconquest.

August & September

8th – Festivities in honour of the Virgin of Loreto mark the end of the summer, usually held from the end of August to the 8th September in Duanes del Mar (Javea port). Originating back to 1850 on the arrival of an Italian ship which ran aground in the waters off Cap Prim. It was carrying the image of the Virgin of Loreto which was saved along with the ships bell. Offering a big program, these festivities highlight the popular ‘Bous a la mar’ (Bulls at sea), held in the port itself on the breakwater and where participants throw themselves into the sea when the bull runs at them. One of the most adored and deeply rooted traditions is going to the ‘Baret’; a pop-up bar assembled by the Festival Commission where you can eat fresh fish (caught hours before for the local fish market: La Lonja) and drink cheap beer (or whatever you may fancy) and soak up the atmosphere. A solemn religious ceremony, on the 8th September marks the end of festivities of Mare de Déu de Loreto, along with a spectacular firework display.

October

9th – October is Day of the Valencian Community. Most business are closed, some shop and most restaurants are open. Javea town hall celebrates the annual Vila de Xabia community awards.

24-25th – La Mar de Tapas invites all residents and visitors to taste their seamanship tapas in an event that exceeds every year -and with creces- what a conventional food fair. The weekend of 24 and 25 October we have the opportunity to enjoy a new edition of “Tapeo en Jávea”, one of the best gastronomic events this autumn in Northern Costa Blanca. Besides tapas, there will be also live shows, ambient music, live entertainment and children’s entertainment.

November

1st – is All Saints Day (day of the dead) where its tradition is to visit tombs (nichos) to adorn them with fresh flowers and to generally tidy them up. Its a day of National celebration and most business are shut.

December

From 18th Nov until 18th Dec the Solidarity Christmas Market will take place in Javea, carrer en Forn 10. Every Thu, Fri and Sat from 10 am till 1 pm (Fri till 5 pm). The market will offer Christmas decorations and products, and nativity scenes will sell figurines and set up a nativity scene.

6th-8th Puente de la Inmaculada. Otherwise known as Bridge of the Immaculate, Bridge of the Constitution or the December Bridge, is the holiday taken nationally on the 6th and 8th December. a national holiday celebrating the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary when Christmas lights are switched on and the decorations go up in the shops, bars and restaurants. It’s one of the most looked forward to breaks from the Spanish people, before Christmas.

13th Fiesta of Santa Llúcia A small and pretty church located on a hill by the old town, built at the turn of the 16th century. During the Middle Ages, the saint was called upon to fight eye disease, probably because her name is related to light. Festivities are celebrated on the 13 December with a simple program combining religion and get-togethers.

24th Rather than Christmas Day, the night before is when Spanish families come together to celebrate the arrival of Christmas with a huge Christmas feast and it is common for many bars and restaurants close their doors once the sun dips below the horizon. Sometimes people exchange small gifts at midnight but Papa Noel is not expected to visit on this night; the children will be waiting for the arrival of the Three Kings a couple of weeks later.

25th Christmas Day is a national holiday. Families often go out together for walks, visit friends or enjoy a festive drink in a bar before having a lunch together, sometimes in a restaurant but more often at home. In truth it’s one of the quietest days of the year in Spain.

31st New Year’s Eve is another chance for friends and family to come together to celebrate the end of the old year and the arrival of the new. As the chimes ring midnight, the tradition is to eat twelve grapes, one popped into the mouth on each chime of the bells, and it is suggested that you will have good luck for the following year if you manage to eat all twelve by the end of the chimes.