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Festivals Dates for the Manilva Area

Dates for the key festivals and holidays are:

January 5 Three Kings Cavalcade
January 6 Epiphany
February 26 to March 2 Semana Blanca
February 28 Andalucia Day
February & March Carnivals (dates vary)
March 31 to April 8 Semana Santa
May 1 May Day
May 14 to 20 Manilva International festival
June 23 Noche de san Juan
July 16 Virgin del Carmen
July 26 Dia de Santa Ana
August 2nd Week Summer Fair
August 15 Assumption Day
September 1st & 2nd Vendimia
October 12 Spain Day
November 1 All Saints Day
December 6 Constitution Day
December 7 Puente
December 8 Immaculate Conception
December 25 Christmas Day

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The Main Festivals in Manilva

Spain is renown for its Ferias so the Costa del sol and  Manilva in particular are no exception with an extensive calendar of events. It is traditional for each community to hold their own celebrations, they are often  planned so that locals and visitors can take advantage of the festivities as they are arranged on different weekends and days  to avoid clashes.

The key dates above are the main activities, however there are other local festivals that are arranged just for fun and not necessarily associated with any particular celebration.

The Three Kings Fiesta

Three Kings is the finale of the Christmas festivities. For the Spanish it is the 5th and 6th January that are the most important in the Christmas period. The tradition is that the Three Kings bring presents to the children,  much as would have occurred when Jesus was born. On the previous day the Cabalgata de Los Reyes takes place and can prove to be an exciting an boisterous event. The Cavalcade is usually a number of  floats with the "Kings" suitably ensconced accompanied by performers and musicians who add the sound and vocals to a highly colourful sight. As the floats pass through the towns or villages (each will have their own cavalcade) the kings will scatter sweets for the children to collect and fill their bags. The Manilva parade starts in Castillo de la Duquesa at approximately 5pm, progressing on through Sabinillas and ending in Manilva some 2 to 3 hours later.

After the parade the families return home for the evening meal and prepare for el Dia de Reyes. The custom is similar to the British Christmas Eve, as before they go to bed the children are supposed to place water and straw outside of their door for the Camels. They should also leave a shoe in an obvious place so that the Kings can leave their gifts. If the children have been good, all works well, however if they are not then they may get coal instead.

The meal on el Dia de Reyes is a traditional crown or ring shaped bread covered with "jewels" of glazed fruits. The surprise inside the cake are small gifts.

Noche de San Juan

This Fiesta is held on the evening of 23 June going on until the early hours of the morning of the 24th It is a celebration that has evolved out of an old pagan event that has been absorbed into a convenient Saints day. The theme of the celebration is different each year with a local artist and designer Juan Oliva spending a great deal of  time in the previous months creating a large tableau that is constructed on the beach a few days before the fiesta in Sabinillas.

It is amazing that this masterpiece is, at the stroke of midnight set alight whilst floating out at sea, but close to the beach. During the "burning" a display of fireworks commences which is quite dramatic against the backcloth of the burning figures and moonlit sea. Beware however as the screaming fireworks often fall on the watching crowd and the burning effigy can be quite warm.

The Manilva people see this fiesta as the beginning of summer. After attending this fiesta several times, I can certainly agree that it is a momentous occasion that should not be missed. Be prepared for large crowds of visitors and locals, loud but entertaining singing and dancing and a very family orientated Manilva festivity.

Virgen del Carmen

Virgen del Carmen is celebrated by the fishing communities in Sabinillas and Castillo de la Duquesa. This is on 16 July when the fishing boats in separately ceremonies in Sabinillas and Duquesa are decorated with images of the Virgen and set out to sea to sail up and down the Manilva coast, best seen from the beaches of Manilva. The launch of the boats in Sabinillas can be a little difficult if the sea happens to be rough. On return to their respective embarkation points the effigies are returned to their place of honour in the churches of Sabinillas and Castillo.

The festival is borne out of the story of the Carmelite Monks who lived on the slopes of the Mount Carmel. They worshipped the Virgin Mary who had appeared there in a vision. The monks were forced to leave by the marauding Saracens. During this time the Virgin appeared to them again and promised to be their "star of the sea" guiding them to safety. Since then she has been revered by the fishing communities in Manilva and the Costa del Sol.

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