Traditions in Spain that are Hard to Believe

by Catherine McCulloch

Whether or not you believe it, Spain has a lot more to offer than sand, sun and sea. We've rounded up some memorable festivals and traditions throughout the country, which happen to be a bit out of the ordinary.

Although the world's largest food fight - the Tomatina tomato festival - is perhaps one of its most well known festivals it is still want of its best, so make sure to start here (in Bunol, Valencia) on your tour of Spain's unusual attractions. Similarly, the Running of the Bulls festival in Pamplona is one of Spain's most infamous and strangest practices. Here a dozen or so bulls will be released into the town's streets and participants - who have to be older than 18 - have to stay ahead of them.

Alternatively, for a more wardrobe friendly festival, head to Lanjaron (near Granada) for June's giant water fight, or, if you're in the mood for a little more adult refreshment during your holidays, the wine fight in La Rioja (where else?!) is also pretty fun. Continuing the alcoholic theme, Cadiar or Toro in Castilla y Leon also fill their fountains with wine for celebrations held in February, October and August.

For a more surreal experience, one of the strangest of Spain's festivals happens in Castrillo de Murcia and Las Hogueras de San Juan at the El Colacho festival, which aims to protect babies from evil. The spirits are fended off by grown men who dress up as devils who jump over the infants. A similar thing is done in Alicante to ward off disease and people dressed up as devils jump through bonfires.

New Year sees other unusual traditions, especially in Valencia, as locals run through the streets in their intimates. However, the colour is important and in spirit of the festive season, has to be red. If you're worried about catching a cold, perhaps the annual flour fight, which occurs on Dec. 28, is more suited to your interests, which acknowledges the Day of the Innocents and is the closest to snow you'll probably get in this part of Spain.

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