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08·APR·2014

Celebrations to look out for in April

As things begin to warm up in Alicante, Mallorca and Murcia there’s a diverse calendar of one-off fiestas and events to discover across these regions.

Alicante

Moors and Christians Festival - Various locations and dates

This fiesta is held mainly in the Valencian Community and marks the events in the period leading up to the Reconquista (reconquest) of Spain by the Christians from the Moors in the Middle Ages. At the heart of the festival are historical re-enactments, complete with marching bands, fireworks and vibrant livery.
The Moors dress in the medieval Arabic style, with scimitars, and in some places ride real camels. The Christians tend to dress in armour and are often mounted on horses. The two forces meet in battle, sparking a riot of noise and colour. At Alcoy for instance the fiesta culminates in a recreated battle from 1276.

Palm Sunday Procession – Elche, April 13

Held on the Sunday before Easter, Palm Sunday processions are a Spanish tradition, but the date holds special meaning for the city of Elche. That’s because Elche is home to the historic Palmeral—a huge, UNESCO-listed plantation of palm trees, cultivated partly for the white palm fronds that are especially significant in Christian tradition. In Elche the fronds are interwoven to create incredibly delicate forms and figures.

Mallorca

Maundy Thursday – Palma, April 17

The must-see event during the week before Easter falls on the night of Maundy Thursday. This is when the Santo Cristo de la Sangre processions take place, involving 30 different Christian brotherhoods. This ritual was first observed all the way back in 1154 and snakes through the old-town on the way down to the Cathedral. Easter is also a good time to try some delicacies unique to Mallorca. Panades for instance are pies filled with vegetables, fish or meat. Robiols meanwhile are a seasonal pastry with jam or candied pumpkin pulp inside.

The Princess Sofía Trophy – Palma, April 29 - May 5

Majorca’s capital has a proud sailing tradition and hosts a prestigious Olympic Sailing World Cup regatta viewable from the waterfront at Palma. There are events across nine different categories and the event will see thousands of yachstmen and women from around the world taking part.

Murcia

Night of the Drums – Mula, April 15

On the Tuesday before Easter the town of Mula hosts a celebration that is quite unlike anything in Spain. Here crowds gather in the town centre at midnight dressed in black tunics and begin drumming in time. The racket doesn’t stop until 4 o’clock—the following afternoon! It’s a bit of a sport for many of the drummers, who see how well they can keep time as well as how long they can hold out.

Bando de la Huerta – Murcia City, April 22

Falling on the first Tuesday following Easter, this is the most important day in Murcia’s Spring Festival and is partly a celebration of Murcia’s fertile soils. The fiesta kicks off with a floral tribute to the patron saint of the city, the Virgin of Fuensanta, in front of the cathedral. After that there’s a parade through the streets of the city by residents dressed in traditional huertano clothing, with ox carts laden with vegetables. At many Spanish parades, especially Three Kings at Christmas, sweets are handed out to the crowds but here, most unusually, sweets are replaced by morcilla sausages, mini-chorizos, beans, sandwiches and even cans of beer. The events in Alicante and Murcia are within an hour’s drive of the Drivalia car rental depot at Alicante (ALC) Airport and those in Palma are only around 10 minutes from our car rental depot at Palma de Mallorca (PMI) Airport.