There are about 10 recognized national holidays in Spain, while the number varies for the municipalities. As a general rule, each municipality is allowed a maximum of 14 holidays a year. During public holidays, everything is closed – government offices, banks, shops and most restaurants and bars.
On the other hand, entertainment venues such as parks and museums tend to extend their hours of operation. The holidays in Spain are also fixed – this means they do not get moved to another day even if they fall during the middle of the week. If the holiday happens to fall on a Tuesday or a Thursday, many businesses call for longer weekends.
New Year’s Day or Ano Nuevo - 31st December, January 1
This is a big festival in Spain starting from the night before when families stay inside their homes and eat twelve grapes at the stroke of midnight. And then everyone goes out to dance in the streets amid festive music and fireworks.
Epiphany (Epifania del Senor or Dia de los Reyes) - January 6
Celebrated from the eve of January 5th to the 6th, this festival is more for the kids but adults also have as much fun with the gift-giving. The three kings lead a procession in the streets where they throw sweets to the children. On the day itself, kids get to open their gifts.
Fallas de San Jose/Dia del Padre - March 19
A special day for the Spaniards, they spend the day to honor the life of St. Joseph and all the fathers. There’s gift-giving, parades and a fireworks display at night.
Labour Day (Dia del trabajador) - May 1
The universal day to recognize the workers, in Spain this is a national holiday with everything closed.
Assumption of the Virgin (La Asuncion) - August 15
One of Spain’s biggest religious festivals, it is actually a four-day event starting from August 11th and ends on the 15th with a big and colorful procession of floats with the picture and statues of the Virgin through the streets.
National Day (Dia de la Hispanidad) - October 12
On this day the Spaniards commemorate the time when Christopher Columbus first discovered the Americas. A grand military parade is done in Madrid and other celebration take place around the country.
All Saints’ Day (Todos los Santos) - November 1
A public holiday to remember the dead. Families go to the graves of their loved ones and pay their respects by bringing flowers and candles.
Constitution Day (Dia de la Constitucion) - December 6
A national holiday that marks the anniversary of the 1978 referendum wherein the Spanish people approved the new constitution. It also ushers in the holiday celebrations for the whole month.
Immaculate Conception Feast (Immaculada Concepcion) - December 8
Another religious festival honoring the Virgin Mary’s “immaculate conception.” Additional church services around the country are performed.
Christmas Eve/Christmas Day (Navidad) - December 24-25
A national holiday and celebration starting with the family gathering for a Nochebuena dinner the night before. Christmas sweets such as turron and polvorones are also typically eaten and the grownups toast with champaigne. The children may receive a small gift but traditional gift-giving is done on Epifania.