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The Fiesta de Candelaria

The festival is celebrated with a huge bonfire.
The festival is celebrated with a huge bonfire. / Sur
  • The Catholic festival in honour of the Virgen de la Candelaria has been celebrated in Spain since the tenth century

The Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria also called Fiesta de las Candelas or Fiesta de la luz, is a popular Catholic festival in honour of the Virgen de la Candelaria that has been celebrated in Spain since the tenth century.

The date of the festival traditionally coincides with the lengthening of daylight hours or the Winter solstice

The festival originated from the Orient and was called the 'Encuentro'. The tradition extended to the West in the VI century and was celebrated in Rome although with a more penitent theme. The origin is also sometimes attributed to the Roman festival 'Lupercales'.

The festival in Spain usually starts on 2 February which according to the Bible is the day in which the Virgin Mary was purified following the birth of Jesus.

In Andalucía, events vary from town to town but a huge bonfire is always at the centre of the celebrations with processions, dancing, eating and drinking.