It’s no surprise that many holidays in Spain come from Christian traditions and event, and La Candelaria is no exception. This holiday actually incorporates another aspect of Spanish culture that people around the world recognize as very Spanish indeed- bullfighting. If you’re planning on being in Spain on February 2, keep this holiday in mind. We’ll show you what you can expect if you’re in town on La Candelaria.
The history behind La Candelaria
As mentioned earlier, La Candelaria goes back to Christian history. You’ll travel back in time to the days of Mary, Joseph and Jesus in Jerusalem. This tradition honors the time when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple forty days after being born. This was customary at the time, as new mothers were seen as unclean after giving birth for 40 days, so her and Joseph couldn’t go into a holy place for 40 days. Then, they took Jesus to the temple to present him in the temple for the first time.
For a country whose culture is interwoven with Christianity, it makes sense that this holiday would be celebrated. In fact, other Spanish-speaking countries traditionally celebrate La Candelaria too, like Mexico, Peru and Bolivia. From here, every country has developed their own version of fiestas.
Modern Spanish celebrations
Nowadays, Spanish cities have taken their own personal spin on February 2 festivities. Here are some examples of what you can expect around Spain for La Candelaria:
- Madrid- Clowns dressed as farmers that bring out “young bulls”, which are really just a wooden frame with horns. “Bullfighters” pretend to fight these bulls throughout the day. At the end of the day, they “kill” one and drink sangria to represent the bull’s blood.
- Málaga- A girl leads a procession where villagers reenact Mary and Joseph bringing Jesus to the Temple for the first time.
- Almonacid del Marquesado (Cuenca)- Hundreds of participants dress up in colorful devil costumes.
These are just a few unique traditions you can find around Spain. See them for yourself!