In a city as vibrant as Málaga there is always something to keep you entertained. Throughout the year visitors can look forward to colour, music, emotion, tradition and festivities, Málaga is a city that knows how to put on a fantastic show!
The year in Málaga begins with the Three Kings. Although many families have introduced Santa into their households at Christmas, for children here the all-important date of the festive season is the 6th January because that is when they Wake up to the gifts which have been delivered to them the night before by Melchior, Balthazar and Gaspar. And what could be more exciting than watching Los Reyes arrive in the city early in the evening of January 5th? They arrive by boat and then travel in a colourful procession of ﬂoats through the streets, throwing sweets and soft toys into the crowds of joyful children lining the pavements. Colour, excitement and music. The year has begun in Málaga.
After Los Reyes, there is a month or so to prepare for the city’s next event, which is Carnival. This was discontinued in 1935 because of the hardships of the Civil War, but in 1980 it was reintroduced and welcomed with enthusiasm. For ten days the streets are ﬁlled with groups of dancers, singers and musicians, and those with an understanding of the Spanish language and politics will enjoy the lyrics of the songs which have been created especially for each year’s event. On the Sunday the grand carnival parade takes place with the participants wearing elaborate and colourful costumes and headdresses as they dance their way through the streets or wave enthusiastically from the ﬂoats.
The colour and noise of carnival is brought to an end on the Sunday night with a big ﬁrework display on the beach, but this comes after one of the more bizarre elements of ‘carnival’, the Grand Procession of mourning and burial of the anchovy, for which most of the city’s residents turn out.
Perhaps the best-known processions in Málaga are those which take place in Semana Santa, or Holy Week. No descriptions, no words can describe the atmosphere of this all-important date in the calendar. The immense gold or silver covered ﬂoats known as ‘tronos’ with their images of Christ and the Virgin Mary are borne through the streets on the shoulders of the ‘hombres de trono’ for hours at a time, and there may be several processions simultaneously winding their ways round the dark streets of the historic old part of the city. The music is haunting, the air is fragrant with incense, there is a sense of mystery as the hooded and robed penitents accompany the images on their journey.
Semana Santa is a moving and unforgettable experience, and many people return to Málaga year after year to be part of it.
All the fun of the fair
Contrary to the emotion and solemnity of Easter in Málaga, the city’s Feria which takes place in August is fun, more fun, and still more fun. Local people throw themselves wholeheartedly into enjoying themselves and demonstrating their hospitality and warm-heartedness to those who come to the city for the event.
Málaga doesn’t quite come to a standstill during Feria but many business owners put up the ‘Closed’ sign for the duration and as many local residents as possible take their annual holiday to coincide with the festivities.
Feria is when ladies wear their lovely colourful Sevillana dresses and embroidered shawls and baby girls in their pushchairs appear as little smiling faces amid a sea of frills; it is when the men discard their everyday clothes and are transformed into elegant gentlemen in smart black trousers, crisp white shirts and wide red cummerbunds, often accompanied by their sons who resemble miniature clones in identical outﬁts. Feria is when horses in beautiful trappings and elegant horsedrawn carriages are the fashionable form of transport; it is when temporary bars appear unexpectedly in streets and lanes so there is never a lack of refreshment; it is when groups of friends and families perform impromptu Sevillana dances beneath the awnings which stretch across the lanes to provide shelter from the summer heat; there is always music in the background, and the streets are filled with the sound of laughter and enjoyment. And this is just the daytime fair, which begins in the city centre at midday each day and continues until the early evening.
At night, the action moves to the fairground on the outskirts of the city, a massive arena with hundreds of rides and tens of dozens of bars and food stands, when hundreds of thousands of coloured light bulbs illuminate the happy faces of the crowds who will remain there to enjoy themselves until long after daybreak, when they go home for a few hours’ rest before the fun begins all over again.
Colour, music, passion, beauty and brilliance. This is Málaga, a city which knows how to enjoy life to the full.