Granada, a Nazarite and Catholic kingdom; a Jewish and Gypsy land; a city of flamenco and the souk… This city enjoys an unprecedented history and cultural richness, so it is not surprising that it has an endless number of traditions, festivities and customs. Here we tell you about the most important festivities and traditions of Granada.
The Semana Santa (Holy Week) of Granada has been declared a Festivity of Tourist Interest. During this week of April, the processions go through cobbled streets, so narrow and twisted that you will think it is impossible for them to pass through. Whether you like the Semana Santa or not, seeing the Christ of Silence or the Gypsies with the full moon and the Alhambra lit up behind is an experience that will not leave you indifferent.
In Granada, Christmas is lived with great enthusiasm. The city centre is filled with trees and giant light spheres, street lighting, carol concerts, Christmas craft markets and typical sweets, traditional nativity scenes and even attractions! There is a waterwheel, a Snow City track and a giant snow slide. In addition, the day before Three Kings Day, January 5, the Three Kings Parade is held, a joyful and colorful show with floats, lights and music in which about a thousand people dance and collect candy. Granada at Christmas time becomes a stage of light and joy for the youngest and also the oldest to enjoy!
More than five hundred years old, the Corpus Christi Feria is the favourite tradition of the people of Granada. It is held for one week a year and begins with the “alumbrao”, the lighting of the thousands of light bulbs that form the front of the fair, and ends with a fireworks display.
During the fair, the inhabitants and visitors enjoy the cheerful atmosphere, dance flamenco in the casetas and ride in the elegant horse-drawn carriages. The Andalusians usually wear the traditional flamenco costume.
The people of Granada love processions, so during the Feria there is the procession of the Tarasca, a dummy who walks around in the year’s fashionable costume.
The Virgen de las Angustias is the Patron Saint of Granada. In September, Granada fills up with colour to honour its virgin. The dates are September 15th and the last Sunday of the month and during these days, people walk around the centre, the traders put up fruit stands in the streets and the official race through which the procession of the Virgen de las Angustias passes is decorated with flowers and colours.
The followers of the Virgin bring offerings of flowers to her basilica and the people of Granada eat the delicious “Torta de la Virgen“. Do you want to know what ingredients are in it? We will tell you at the end of this post, keep reading!
On May 3, the Day of the Cross is celebrated in Granada. The city is full of people and colour; the streets, squares and courtyards are decorated; and altars are placed in honour of the Holy Cross. The festival has its origins in the 17th century, when the residents of the San Lázaro district made an alabaster cross and celebrated it by dancing and singing along with it. Since then, the festival has evolved into altars decorated with manila shawls, handcrafted ceramics and copper objects. The neighbours, the brotherhoods, the schools and even the Town Hall compete in the annual contest of crosses altars and the people of Granada dress in flamenco and visit the shop windows. Curious, isn’t it?
A multitude of art, music and dance activities are held in Granada. The Granada Cines del Sur Festival is dedicated to the emerging cinema of Asia, South America and Africa and the city is visited by filmmakers, film lovers, actors and producers from all over the world, and the most interesting! Screens are placed all over the city so you can go and enjoy the productions.
Another important festival is the Granada Music and Dance Festival, where you can enjoy Granada’s flamenco. Finally, the Granada International Jazz Festival was first held in 1980 and has been going on for 20 years without interruption ever since. The most excellent musicians of the international jazz scene come to Granada to give concerts and the city is filled with an exciting jazz atmosphere.
In the lower part of the Albaicín, the Calderería 1 and 2, bargaining (in Spanish, “regateo”) is still used every day. This custom from the Arab souks is still present in Granada as a sign of its Nasrid legacy. If you don’t believe us, see for yourself! Talk to the craft vendors and develop your bargaining skills, it’s an art!
The Torta de la Virgen is the typical sweet of the Festivity of the Patron Saint of Granada, the Virgen de las Angustias. It is a delicious cake filled with chocolate, pastry cream or angel hair. In addition, the dough of the cake has among its ingredients cinnamon, matalauva and grated orange. We’ve whetted your appetite, haven’t we?