Are you still looking for where to go this year? Might we recommend a place that is so fun that even if you have been there, it will always feel as if you are coming into it with fresh eyes? A place full of wonder, freedom, and adventure, not to mention that something is going on all year round. We are talking about no other place than the Andalusian region of Spain; particularly, we are talking about Malaga, Spain’s sixth most important province and one of humanity’s oldest commercial harbors.
Malaga lies south of Spain, just off the Mediterranean sea, and boasts of one of the oldest working harbors in human existence. Before the map of the world started to look like how we recognize it, Malaga was already famous. It served as a trading post at the edge of the Mediterranean and for travelers who dared to sail to the world’s edge. This was in 700 BC, a pretty long time ago. But it is not just the 3000-year harbor that makes Malaga worth your while. There is so much more in the city that lies beyond its amazing beaches.
Malaga is one of those vacation spots that is lively all year round, and the city has everything a tourist or vacationer could look for. At every time of the year, the Malagueños celebrate something and would love to have you. So come with us, and let us tell you about every one of the numerous festivals you should attend should you ever find yourself in the COEO hostel in Malaga.
List of the Festivals in Malaga
Procession de Los Reyes – January 5th – 6th
This is a friendly festival that would give your children their very best first week of the year.
The Procesión de Los Reyes (Festival of the three kings) is celebrated from January 5th to January 6th. Malagas’ very first festival of the year starts from the world’s treasured Port of Malaga, onto the Paseo del Parque, through the streets of Malaga, and ends at the city hall.
The festival starts when the kings arrive at the port, and a child reads a letter to them, welcoming them to Malaga, and requests gifts from them. The kings then climb onto the Paseo del Parque and process into the city. As they march into the city, the kings throw small gifts and sweets into the crowd that has come to witness the festival. These gifts are for the small children who have come to greet them. Even after the kings reach Malaga’s town hall (Ayuntamiento), the festivities continue into the evening with performances, illusionists, dancers, musicians, and singers entertaining the people who have come out to the streets to celebrate the procession. The following day is a much quieter affair where people, tired from the previous day’s festivities, visit family and exchange gifts.
The procession of the three kings celebrates the visit of the Three Magic Kings (see how it is placed conveniently after Christmas) and pays homage to the three wise men who were said to visit Jesus when he was born.
So if you are looking at giving your children the time of their lives early in the year before school resumes, head to Malaga and witness the magic of the Procession de Los Reyes. You can book an aparthotel in Malaga Centro with us at COEO House and walk to the Paseo del Parque in time for Gaspar, Melchor, and Baltasar, the three kings, to shower you and your children with beautiful gifts.
The Malagueños are so fun that they have a holiday tailored to help them let loose just before Lent comes through.
If you know anything about the history of Malaga, you know how deeply entrenched Catholicism is in their history ever since Isabella and Ferdinand conquered the beautiful city. Malaga’s carnival is the week when the town celebrates the coming of Lent (and parties as hard as they can before the holy period).
The week-long carnival starts 47 days before lent, so it holds either late February or March, depending on when Easter falls. What you will find at the carnival are parades of dancers, several streams of street performances, and temporary stages set at Malaga’s major plazas to host special performances.
Malaga’s carnival is the best place to let yourself loose and let go of your inhibitions before the world becomes serious again. You can get lost in the lavish celebrations, the flowing vino, and the pure joy of people celebrating freedom until the ‘burial of the sardine’ takes place at La Malagueta Beach. This is where all of the festivities end.
So if you are looking to free up your mind, Malaga’s carnival is the most exciting place to be.
Semana Santa (Holy Week)
Right after Malaga’s carnival of indulgence, forty days of Lent come along for the Catholics in Malaga and then closes with the Semana Santa (Holy Week).
The Semana Santa is celebrated throughout Spain, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. It marks the different stages of the Via Crucis (translates to Way of Christ) and is a special way to spend your Easter vacation. The Semana Santa was instituted to bring the liturgy out of the church into the open.
During the Semana Santa, you will witness several processions of church brotherhoods and other fraternities from the liturgy march around the city morning and evening, observing certain rites. The procession is followed by elaborately made floats bearing 17th and 18th-century images of Christ or the Virgin Mary and performing some traditional easter rites observed by the church. Hymns will be sung about the passions of Christ and the Virgin’s Sorrows. Malaga becomes solemn sometimes during this spiritual week.
The Holy Week is open to all tourists who want to see the majesty of the church in Malaga. Come to Malaga and witness our tribute to the Passions of Christ and elevate your spirit this easter. Perhaps you can be one of those who don a Nazareno and participate in the Semana Santa from the comfort of our aparthotel in Malaga next time.
Night of Saint John – Midnight, June 23rd
Known as the feast of Saint John in other countries, this holiday marks the night before the birth of St. John, one of the disciples of Christ. However, some link it to the celebration of the Solstice on the same day. On this holiday, the beaches in Malaga come alive again as bonfires are erected on every beach to start the celebration. This is Malaga’s first holiday in the summer, starting at midnight on June 23rd. A bonfire is created, and juanes, ragdolls filled with flammable material, are burned. People dance around the bonfire while others try to jump over the flames amidst the celebrations. Some people also choose this time to burn old furniture to keep the fire going until the morning.
There is quite a lot of magic in the Noche de San Juan. A local myth says that if you bathe in the sea at midnight, you will be granted eternal beauty (or luck for the rest of the year). Ha!
So my dear tourists, your road to eternal beauty starts by spending your first week in the summer at Malaga’s beach. You can hang around in the COEO hostel in Malaga so you can get the timing just right.
Malaga Feria (Malaga Fair)
Malaguenos witness another important holiday in their history in August. Known as one of the biggest parties in southern Spain, Malaga Feria lasts ten days and is filled with vino, flamenco, and a warm welcome for visitors worldwide. This event is a cornucopia of Andalusia’s cultural heritage and traditions.
But why do Malagueños celebrate the Malaga Feria? What is it about?
In 1487, King Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic Monarchs, gained victory over the moors and ended 800 years of Moorish rule over Malaga. To this day, the people of Malaga celebrate this event with a street party, but don’t worry, nothing religious happens here like the Semana Santa or the Noche de San Juan. In fact, this 10-day shows a different side of Malaga. On the first day, fireworks signal the start of La Feria, followed by a colorful pilgrimage of horses and carriages the next day. They are a throwback to the conquerors’ entrance into the city.
Then a parade starts at Malaga’s city hall all the way to the Iglesia de la Victoria, where a mass is held. Right after that mass happens, it is street party time!
If you have a free time block in August, you can lodge at the COEO hostel and experience the whole ten days of one of the world’s biggest and most popular street parties. And if you happen to be agoraphobic, you can enjoy the sites of La Fiera from the comfort of the COEO hostel in Malaga center or on a boat at the port of Malaga.
Procession of the Virgen de la Victoria – September 8th
The festival honoring Malaga’s patron saint, the Virgin of the Victory, is a beloved annual event that takes place on September 8th. On the last Sunday of August, the image of the Virgin is carried from the Basilica and Royal Sanctuary of Santa María de la Victoria to the Santa Iglesia Cathedral Basilica in Malaga, where a prayer service is held, attended by all Malaguenas who come to worship the Virgin.
Following the service, a grand procession takes place, during which the image of the Virgin is carried from the cathedral to the Santuario de la Victoria, the temple where the Virgin is usually kept. Thousands of worshippers follow the procession, making it a beautiful and moving experience.
The day ends with a holy eucharist and a floral offering, a stunning display of devotion and gratitude for the Virgin.
This festival is an incredible showcase of Malaga’s deep devotion and rich cultural traditions. It shows everyone the religious side of Malaga and offers you a place to connect spiritually if you are into that.
October seems to be cut out to celebrate great artists. In Malaga, October is set out for Pablo Ruiz Picasso, one of the greatest painters in history, as the city was his birthplace. Malaga is not just a city of parties and religious devotion but a highly intellectual environment that has cultivated some of the brightest minds of art after Picasso. Through Malaga’s backstreets and museums dedicated to art and Picasso himself, you cannot mistake how artistically astute Malagueños are. Much of this is played in October, also known as Picasso Month in Malaga.
The Pablo Ruiz Picasso Foundation in Malaga takes center stage and coordinates several art conferences, art exhibitions, musical concerts, and competitions throughout the month. It is not only the Picasso Foundation that takes charge. Other organizations that support art hold their events and attract millions of visitors interested in art.
If you are an artist or you like to see paintings and behold the glory of art in several forms, clear your schedule and head to Malaga in October. There is a whole world of art waiting and a network of bright minds waiting to meet you in Malaga’s Picasso Month. Some of them come to COEO Hostel in Malaga or occupy one of our aparthotels in Calle Pena. You can join them this year.
Festival de Verdiales – December 28th
As it turns out, December’s holiday is longer in Malaga than in most parts of Spain. The biggest cultural event rocks the entire town of Malaga. It is called the Verdiales, a dance festival that celebrates various forms of lively flamenco. The Verdiales is a kind of flamenco first danced in the olive-growing region of Los Verdiales just north of Malaga. It is often considered an original folk song form that was slowly absorbed into the flamenco dance. The festival gets its name from verdial, which is a specific type of olive grown in the region.
For the Verdiales Festival, several groups gather in Malaga to dance flamenco in celebration and also in contests with each other. These groups are called pandas, and they arrive at the city hall with their guitars, lutes, castanets, and violins to make the tunes. Contestants from surrounding villages in Malaga also show up with improvised instruments to make their performance all the more unique.
At this festival, you will find almost nothing foreign. It’s all deep Spanish heritage, Spanish music, and Spanish dancing, and it is one you must attend if you want to get a taste of Spanish culture without any concessions to foreign influences. Of all Malaga’s festivals, the Verdiales festival is the most traditionally Spanish festival. Admission into the Fiesta Mayor De Verdiales, the biggest of the festivals, is free to attend.
Enjoy all of the festivals from COEO Hostel in Malaga
No matter how much you visit, Malaga is a city you will always want to return to. At any time of the year, there is a fiesta, or a procession ripping through the city.
Less than 10 minutes from Malaga’s glorious sights lies our comfortable and affordable hostels and aparthotels in Malaga’s city center. We believe anyone visiting Malaga needs enough time to savor all the sights and sounds. Check out our budget-friendly hostel in Malaga. You can book ahead. We are looking forward to seeing you.