Like many Spanish festivals, Benidorm Festival is held in honour of the local patron saints. In the case of Benidorm, it’s the Virgen del Sufragio and San Jaime Apostol. The festival’s origins date back to the 18th Century when a ship was washed onto the beaches during a storm. To avoid the spread of any disease locals burnt the ship, whose ashes revealed an image of the Virgin. The ashes were kept in a church built specially to house them, and a re-enactment of this event now takes place every year.
Benidorm’s a lively resort the year round but it truly comes to life during November’s Patron Saint Festival. The town’s essentially one big social gathering, combining open-air theatre, religious events, and street parties. But if you’re on holiday in Benidorm during this period, what are the must-sees?
Fireworks at Playa de Poniente: The festival’s grand finale is the spectacular firework display held at Poniente beach on Wednesday evening and as a curtain closer, it’s hard to beat. If you’re on holiday in Benidorm with your family be sure to attend the parade that’s held before the fireworks. The floats, beautifully made by locals, are a real joy to watch and the tradition of throwing sweets into the crowd will always keep the kids happy.
Fancy Dress Day: The Brits have been coming to Benidorm for decades, with many now calling it their home. So it makes sense that Ol’ Blighty should have found its way into the festivities. And there’s nothing more British than dressing up. Though the Patron Saint festival officially finishes after Wednesday’s fireworks, the past 20 years have seen Thursday become Fancy Dress Day, with up to 30,000 revellers in full costume enjoying a drink or two in the towns many bars. If you fancy brushing shoulders with Elvis, Papa Smurf, or an Irish Leprechaun, it’s the place to be.
Other Benidorm festivals
While Benidorm’s Patron Saint Festival is the main festival, the resort is home to plenty of other events throughout the year. Whenever you visit there’s a good chance there will be a festival for you and your family to enjoy. Here are a few to choose from:
The Fallas: between the 15th and the 19th of March Benidorm celebrates Saint Jose with a number of street festivals, with the finale the burning of three giant paper mache statues that have been painstakingly built during the year.
Romeria del Corpus: this traditional Andalucían festival takes place every June and features fairground rides and a carnival procession.
The Artichoke Fiesta: hot on the heels of the Patron Saint Festival is the Festa de la Carxofa, held in Benidorm’s Old Town during the third week of November. It’s a traditional harvest festival, which features a sardinada, a free meal featuring sardines, a large street party and a ceremonial burning of a large paper mache artichoke. If you’re looking to sample a slice of traditional Benidorm then this is the festival to attend.