Infuriating to many Spanish and British alike, Spain seems to close down completely for a Fiesta and it is often impossible to get anything done - quite often nobody seems to know exactly when many of the Fiestas are!
Fiestas generally fall into 3 Categories - National, Regional and Local (Town) Fiestas.
• The Spanish for a bank holiday/public holiday/legal holiday is known as "día feriado" or "fiesta nacional".
• If a public holiday falls on a Sunday it is sometimes celebrated on the weekday before or after to prolong the Fiesta
• All banks and most shops and museums close on public holidays. Many Bars and restaurants ( outside tourist areas ) may also be closed too
• Hospitals and emergency services are not closed on public holidays
• Taxis fares are often Increased during Fiesta periods
• When a public holiday falls on a Thursday or Tuesday, you will usually find they 'make the bridge' (hacer puente) by taking off the Friday or Monday so creating a very long weekend. When this happens you may find businesses running on short staff or smaller family run business closed for the full period.
National Public Holidays in 2013
January 1st – New Year’s Day (Año Nuevo)
January 6st – Epiphany / Three Kings (Dia de los Reyes)
March 19th - St Joseph's Day / Fathers Day (San Jose / Dia del Padre)
April 21st – Maundy Thursday (Jueves Santo)
April 22nd - Good Friday (Viernes Santo)
April 25th - Easter Monday (Lunes de Pascua)
May 1st – Labour Day (Dia del Trabajo)
August 15th - Assumption of the Virgin (Asuncion de la Virgen)
October 12th – National Fiesta Day (Dia Nacional de España
November 1 – All Saints day (Todo los Santos)
December 6th – Day of the Spanish Constitution (Dia de la Constitucion España)
December 8th – Immaculate Conception (Inmaculada Concepcion)
December 25th – Christmas Day (Dia del Señor)
In addition to the above national fiestas there are 2 regional fiestas, dependent on each region, and 2 local fiestas also, leading to a maximum number of 14 days off work.
The Following dates are also applicable in some areas :
March 19th - San José, is a fiesta in Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, Comunidad Valenciana, Extremadura, Galicia, Madrid, Murcia, Navarra, País Vasco, La Rioja and Melilla.
April 5 - Maundy Thursday, will be a fiesta across the country - with the exception of Cataluña and Valencia.
April 9 - Easter Monday, is a fiesta only in Baleares, Cataluña, Comunidad Valenciana, Navarra and País Vasco.
Local Fiestas vary from Town to Town and Village to Village and nearly all areas will have a week of Fiestas (usually around Summer time) when they celebrate that particular Town's Saint, and usually another day at a later (or earlier) part of the year when they celebrate the Town's 'Virgin'.
At various times during the year you may find fund raising events held by the Town's appointed 'Festeras' (usually made up of that Years School-Leavers and some of the older generation are also appointed in turn) who are responsible for raising funds and arranging the activities for the years coming Fiesta.
The Fiestas themselves can include many activities, and can vary from area to area. Bull Running through the streets is very Popular and you will find that this occurs at a number of times during the Day (often Noon, 8pm and Midnight) and perhaps a water fight or Bouncy castles for the Children, and a Band that often don't even start to perform until the small hours.
Most Towns and Villages in Spain have their own State sponsored web site that will list your own’s Regional and Local Fiesta dates (although some are much better than others) and are usually your Town's name followed by '.es' – Remember to check Regional spellings aswell.