Spain is the home of the fiesta and the Spanish know how to party!
Here is a very small sample of what you could be enjoying...
In Spain ‘Los Reyes Magos’ - Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar - play a similar role to Santa Claus in many other parts of the world. Spanish children write letters to the Three Kings, or Three Wise Men, who then bring the children gifts the night before, or on the morning of the Epiphany, January 6th.
In some houses children leave their shoes outside the door so that the Three Kings will fill them with gifts, often leaving bigger presents alonsgide.
Just as children in many other places leave out some food and drink for Santa, and a carrot for Rudolph, Spanish children make sure to leave a drink for each of the Three Kings and some food and drink for their camels - as this is the only night of the year when the animals eat and drink.
Even if the skies are clear and there is no forecast for rain, you will see children brandishing umbrellas as they line the parade route. The reason becomes clear as the King's approach and the umbrellas are opened and turned upside down becoming the ideal receptacle for catching the handful of candies thrown into the crowds.
On January 6th, Spaniards typically tuck into a Roscón de Reyes, a Three Kings cake baked in a ring and decorated with candied fruit and hiding a, sometimes lucrative, surprise.
A small figurine of the baby Jesus, or a little toy for children, is typically hidden inside the dough, as is a dry fava bean. Whoever finds the toy is crowned king or queen of the celebration, while the one who finds the bean has to buy the Roscón next year.
Lights, gunpowder, monuments, flowers, traditional costumes, music, satire, emotions and a great deal of fun are the ingredients of a unique cocktail known as the Fallas Fiestas.
In the middle of the Mediterranean coast, Valencia city, celebrates each year the final days of the winter and the arrival of spring with spectacular fires and pyrotechnics. From March 15 to 19 (the feast of Saint Joseph, day of the father in the whole country), Valencia is given over to a carnival of bonfires, fiesta, fireworks and a healthy dose of satire known as Las Fallas, the fires.
Displayed on every corner all over the city are colourful ninots, giant papier-mâché figures often 20 feet tall or even more that have been paraded through the streets and then placed in fantasy groups to tower over excited spectators.
Every day at 2pm firecrackers rip through the Plaza del Ayuntamiento in an noisy event called la Mascleta. This concert of gunpowder is very popular and involves different neighbourhood groups competing for the most impressive volley, ending with the terremoto, as hundreds of masclets exploting simultaneously.
Another important event is the Ofrenda de Flores a la Virgen de los Desamparados, a beautiful ceremony every March 17 and 18, that honours Valencia's patron Virgin. Thousands of Falleras and Falleros arrive to the city from every corner of the Comunitat (Valencia State) and take the streets wearing traditional costumes and dancing to their neighbourhood or village bands as they wend their way to the Plaza de la Virgen to offer bouquets to the giant image of the Virgin.
The celebrations draw to an end with a fabulous firework display in the Paseo de la Alameda. All Fallas burn all over the city the Crema night in a tremendous spectacle of fire and joy. Valencia is at that moment like Nero's Rome, a city in flames. That's why Valencians call this the best firework fiesta in the world! Don´t miss it!
La Tomatina is a food fight festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year in the town of Bunol near to Valencia in Spain. Thousands upon thousands of people make their way from all corners of the world to fight in this 'World's Biggest Food Fight' where more than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets.
Prior to 2013 anywhere from 40,000 to 50,000 (reported to be 50,000 in 2012) people crammed into this huge tomato fight, greatly expanding Bunol's normal 9,000 person population. Since 2013 official ticketing has been in place limiting the number of participants to just 20,000 lucky people.
The Valencia Marathon is held annually in the historic city of Valencia which, with its entirely flat circuit and perfect November temperature, averaging between 12-17 degrees, represents the ideal setting for hosting such a long-distance sporting challenge.
This, coupled with the most incomparable of settings, makes the Valencia Marathon, one of the most important events in the national calendar.The Valencia Marathon a well organised and treats runners to free hot chocolate and churros before the race and excellent goody-bags at the finish. The relatively small field prevents crowding and allows runners to make their own pace.The route is mainly suburban, avoiding most of the city, but with a scenic stretch along the coast. Notable sites along the route include the Jardin del Turia, Mercado de Colon and Palua de la Musica, finishing at the stunning Museo de las Ciencias Principe Felipe. The route is mainly suburban, avoiding most of the city, but with a scenic stretch along the coast.There is also much live music on the route to keep runners entertained
The Road Racing World Championships reaches its grand finale with this race, the Valencian Moto GP. Expect a packed house of fanatical supporters at the great Ricardo Tormo circuit. The Moto GP is one of the fastest, most thrilling sports in the world. The bikes reach speeds of up to 310kph and the races are extremely competitive. Unlike Formula One racing, overtaking is frequent. The riders take the bravest lines to weave through the field and when the bikes close on each other they push it to the limit. There is the feeling that the crowd is collectively holding its breath as the riders brake as late as possible into the corners. Then there is the engine noise, piercing the air as the riders fly by, a constant reminder of the sheer power that they are fighting to control.
Paella is eaten throughout the world, but the birthplace is considered to be Albufera and Ribera, just south of Valencia. A true Valencian paella is made with chicken, rabbit and snails, but there are so many other varieties you are spoilt for choice. The rice is grown in the rice fields of Albufera, which surrounds a freshwater lagoon in the Albufera Natural Park.
Arroz al forn is a rice dish baked in the oven and usually containing sausages, chickpeas and potato amongst other ingredients, usually made with the surplus of the local typical stew.
Fideuà is a dish based on noodles and seafood, typical of the Valencian coast and originally from Gandia.
Gazpacho is a famous Spanish dish typical throughout south and central Spain. In the Valencia region it is typical of the southern and inland areas and is the quintessential summer dish.
Arròs a banda is a humble preparation typical of the Valencian coast with rice, fish, and sweet potato.
Sobrassada a typically Majorcan meat-product which is produced in the Marina.
All i pebre is a signature dish for the area around Valencia city and immediately to the south, containing peppers, garlic and potatoes with eels.
Esgarrat or Pericana is found in the mountains of Alcoi. It is a mixture of roasted peppers and strips of salted cod. The pericana also adds garlic.
Espencat is a dish of roasted vegetables, typically peppers and aubergine but other vegetables can be added.
Chocolate and Churros. Dip the churro in a hot cup of chocolate and then drink the rest!
Orxata (Horchata) is a drink made from submerging rice or other products in water for long periods. There are at least two kinds made locally. The first is Orxata de Xufa, made with tigernuts, quintessentially Valencian and produced only in the area of Alboraya, just north of Valencia. The second is ,Orxata d'Ametlla made and consumed in the Alicante and Xixona. Pastry fingers, called Fartons, are usually dipped in the Horchata.
Muscat (known as "Moscatell" also called "Mistela") is produced in Marina Alta, near Denia. Also in Turís, Cheste, Godelleta and surroundings areas. Mistela is the perfect after dinner drink.
Agua De Valencia Cocktail is a Spanish drink and is known as “Valencian Water.” The basic ingredients of the famous Agua De Valencia Cocktail are gin, orange juice, vodka, and champagne.