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When most people think of fiestas in Spain, they likely imagine tomato throwing or the running of the bulls. But Spain’s 17 autonomous regions offer a variety of fascinating celebrations, each infused with the history and culture of that particular area. Here are a few to consider attending on your next visit to Spain.
MADRID (JTA) — Every Passover, Danielle Elliott joins her parents in Chicago. She helps prepare haroset, delights in her mom’s elaborate Passover decorations and enjoys spending the holiday with her family.
But this year Elliott will be recounting the story of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt several thousand miles away from home — in Spain. She is organizing the first Passover seder at the Universidad Camilo José Cela in Villafranca del Castillo, a town on this capital city’s outskirts.
Every year on March 19, the coastal city of Valencia, Spain, explodes with close to 400 fireworks and then twice the number of fires. The burning of the niñots — figurines made of Styrofoam, cardboard, wood, papier-mâché and plaster — is the culmination of the Festival de las Fallas.
Visit the coastal city of Valencia, Spain, between March 15 and 19, and you’ll witness a flurry of activity: Firecrackers exploding on the main square, streets closed for paella cookouts and parades, and workers busily installing giant puppet figurines, or ninots, that will be integrated into a larger statue, called a falla, and eventually set ablaze in spectacular fashion.
Making Venetian masks the old-fashioned way.
If there is one thing more ubiquitous to Venice Carnival than the elaborately costumed patrons, it’s the famous maschera, or Venetian masks. From simple eye masks to more intricate full-face ensembles, masks are available in almost every tourist shop in the city, even outside of the carnival period. But not every item on offer is worth its sparkles. For a true piece of Venetian history and art, look for a mask made in Venice by a company that uses ...
The origins of the Venetian Carnival go back to the Republic of Venice, known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice, or Serenìsima Repùblica Vèneta in Venetian. Some attribute Carnival’s beginnings to 1162 when Venetians celebrated their victory over the Patriarch of Aquileia, yet others claim it started at the end of the 11th century when Vitale Faliero Dodoni, the 32nd doge of Venice, allowed the poor a short period of fun and festivities.
With a mask and a costume, the inhabitants of Seren...
By Margarita Gokun Silver
Although accounts on the exact start of the Venice Carnival vary–some attribute it to the 11th century while others claim it began in the 12th–most agree it was a celebration of the incognito. With a mask and a costume, poor and rich alike assumed whatever identity they wished and the disguise afforded them a freedom they didn’t have the rest of the year. So appealing was this anonymity that by the 18th century, many wore masks for as long as six months a year.
Mention Val d’Aran, a valley at the foot of the Pyrenees in Catalonia’s Lleida province, and most Spaniards think of winter.
Popular for its access to pistes of various difficulties, the valley is peppered with ski resorts that buzz as soon as the first snow appears on the ground. Members of the Spanish Royal family vacation here and most Madrileños don’t mind a several hour drive to enjoy both the skiing and the beauty of the terrain.
But backtrack seventy-five years, and the mountains of th...
Back-to-School Clothes, Back in the U.S.S.R. - The ...
This Reform synagogue started by women is shaking up Jewish life in Madrid.
Barcelona may be known for its beaches and the Sagrada Família but there is much more to this Mediterranean metropolis, the capital of Catalonia. Fiercely proud of its culture and heritage the city is an eclectic mix of traditional and modern—with a vibrant art and music scene and nightlife to indulge your inner night owl like no place else. Mostly walkable but also with excellent public transport, bicycle lanes, and affordable taxis, Barcelona is made for sightseeing by day and ‘bona vida’—wine-and-tapas-fueled time with family and friends—by night.