Festivals in Asturias
In keeping with all of the other regions of Spain, Asturias has a number of both high profile and much smaller local festivals.
Many of these festivals have a history embedded in a religious right or celebration, however others may be based around a particular food or an item of produce and, in some cases, their original history is pagan. These festivals can involve costume parades, music, dance and frequently eating and drinking (although rarely to excess).
The national drink of the region is a special “still” cider and there are festivals and events that celebrate this beverage. These fiestas have taken on a very colourful and dramatic appearance, part of which is to add to their tourist attracting potential. Some of these events are local to specific towns whilst others are region wide.
More recently, Asturias has become associated with its rivers and canoeing and this has led to a massive water based festival that culminates in a race that has gained international recognition. The result of this is that much of August is considered to be a celebration of canoeing and water based activities and all of the rivers of the region will be filled to bursting with little boats.
Other festivals relate to fishing and protecting sailors at see and some of the festivals are specific to a particular Saint.
The festivals of Asturias run throughout the year and the best way to find out what is happening locally is to be there at the time. However, the month of August is the centre of many fiesta events and there will be something taking place in some part of the region on a daily basis.
Here are a few festival highlights
- In the lead up to the religious festival of lent, Asturias has a large carnival like festival that involves dressing up, partying, parades games and much more. This fiesta takes place in different cities on different days with Oviedo, Aviles and Gijon being the main hosts. Much of the day time is spent with entertainment for the younger generation along with some challenges and eating, whilst the evening sees music concerts that continue into the early hours. The festival last a week in total.
- Another big event is la Ascension which takes place every Spring. This festival is very much one concerned with local culture and the age old way of life and it sees many processions connected with farming and agriculture. Examples can be the judging of show competitions for livestock and traditional bull fighting. Many of these fiestas are also accompanied by special markets that sell every kind of food and trinket and many are made locally and sold on by the maker or person responsible for preparing them.
- The las fiestas de San Mateo (Saint Matthew) is a festival with a religious inheritance and it takes place at the end of summer in late September. This festival occurs throughout Spain and many other Christian countries and usually involves elaborate parades and the drinking of wine and the offering of thanks for the season’s harvest. The main day of this fiesta is 21 September although the celebrations usually last an entire week.
For details of fiestas and carnivals particular to a specific city in Asturias please use the links below