Traditionally, February and March mark the period of Lent - a period of fasting and penance. Before this religious period, however, there is usually a myriad of fantastic celebrations, parties, and carnivals that allow people to over-indulge and enjoy one last foray. When visiting Spain, the month of March presents the perfect opportunity to witness some local culture, join in a series of memorable events, and enjoy the first dose of spring sunshine.
If you are planning a trip to Spain during this month, we have created a list of some of the main events and celebrations to look out for, particularly in the regions of Valencia and Murcia. We hope you find this list useful and inspiring!
Carnival of Santiago de la Ribera
Dates - 3rd February - 8th March
Location - Santiago de la Ribera, Murcia
Must-see event - The grand parade
This is one of the most popular carnivals in the region of Murcia and draws a large crowd every year. During the first week of March, this small town bursts into life and hosts the carnival of Santiago. When visiting La Ribera, expect an explosion of color, plenty of loud music and festivities - the whole town comes to life and gets into the carnival spirit. Carnival troupes (or Penas) come from far and wide to take part in the festivities and show off their dancing skills and outrageous costumes.
Most of the celebrations take place in the beautiful Jardines Principe de Asturias which can be found in the southern part of the town. If you witness one event, make sure it is the Grand Parade - this is a culmination of all the hard work and effort of the participants and is a true spectacle! You will see a myriad of troupes performing, accompanied with some gorgeous floats and decorations - it is a mesmerizing site and will surely leave a lasting impression!
Carnival de Aguilas
Dates - 3rd February - 24th March
Location - Aguilas, Murcia
Must-see event - National Drag Queen Festival
For the biggest part of the year, Aguilas is a quiet seaport in the Murcia region. During the month of March, however, this relatively low key destination transforms into a hive of activity and celebrations and hosts the Carnaval de Aguilas. Due to its popularity, the carnival has actually been declared a festival of international tourist interest and is one of the most popular celebrations of its type in Spain.
At the center of this magnificent event, there are four main characters - The Muse, Dona Cuaresma, Don Carnal and The Mussona. Each character plays a unique role in the carnival and it is an honor to be picked to play the part of one of these leading roles. The muse represents the festive spirit of the carnival, and Cuaresma represents abstinence and seriousness. Moreover, Don Carnal represents pure indulgence whilst Mussona pays homage to the traditional carnivals of ages past.
During the carnival, many different parades and events take place together with staged "battles" between the four characters. The whole municipality takes part and the atmosphere is electric. Whilst in Aguilas, don't forget to try the fruity and alcoholic Cuerva cocktail that has now become an emblem of the festivities.
Las Fallas in Valencia
Dates - 1st March - 19th March
Location - Valencia
Must-see event - Night of Fire display
Valencian's traditionally celebrate the banishment of winter and the approach of spring in Las Fallas. This celebration is an age-old tradition and during the first two weeks of March, the city transforms into a place of partying and festivities. Throughout Valencia you can find a number of parties, parades, and celebrations taking place in the main squares and streets - the buildings and plazas come alive with color and are filled with vibrant decoration.
Several organized events take place during Las Fallas including La Planta (erecting of Las Fallas monuments), the Prize Giving Ceremony, The Offering of the Flowers, and La Crema (burning of Las Fallas monuments). Furthermore, each night, a series of spectacular firework displays take place and the sky above Valencia is filled with a magnificent display. The whole affair culminates in the spectacular Night of Fire display which is an absolutely unbelievable pyrotechnic display bursting with color and vibrancy.
As you can see, March is a busy month and this region of Spain has a great deal to offer in terms of celebrations. If you are traveling to Murcia, Valencia or Alicante during this time, a Drivalia hire car could provide you with the perfect opportunity to visit one of these towns and take part in the festivities! Our car-hire depots in both Valencia and Alicante are perfectly situated to travel within the region and see a slice of Spanish culture and get in the carnival spirit!