Spanish Bank Holidays: 12 Important Dates in the Spanish Calendar

August 14, 2023

Spanish Bank Holidays: 12 Important Dates in the Spanish Calendar

Spain’s 12 holidays offer fascinating insights into the country’s cultural and historical narratives. Are you ready to journey through Spain’s calendar of bank holidays?

Spain, a country known for its exuberant celebrations, traditional observances, and historical significance, has a rich collection of bank holidays. These holidays offer fascinating insights into the country’s cultural and historical narratives. Are you ready to journey through Spain’s calendar of bank holidays?

Photo of Malaga by Chris Boland

Año Nuevo/New Year’s Day (1st Jan)

Año Nuevo, the first bank holiday of the year, greets Spaniards with joy and hope. At midnight they eat 12 grapes to the 12 chimes of the clock. Eating 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve is a popular tradition in Spain and some other Spanish-speaking countries. The practice is known as “Las doce uvas de la suerte” or “The twelve grapes of luck.” The tradition has its origins in Spain and dates back to the early 20th century. It is not uncommon for youngsters to arrive home at 7/8/9 am after a night of celebrations on new years day!

Shops, businesses, monuments and museums do not open on New Year’s Day. A few bars and restaurants might open later in the day for an afternoon/evening service.

Reyes Magos/Epiphany Bank Holiday (6th Jan)

Next on the calendar is Reyes Magos, or Epiphany, on 6th January. This day re-enacts the visit of the Three Kings, bringing history to life. Most towns will have a parade where the three kings throw sweets out into the crowds of excited children. Families exchange gifts on this day, and not on the 25th of December in Spain.

Most shops won’t open on the bank holiday (Jan 6th) but shops open the next day for the first day of the January sales, even if it’s a Sunday. It’s a great time to pick up a bargain and treat yourself to a day of shopping in Málaga or Granada if you’re staying at Villa Andalucía!

Spanish bank holidays Reyes Magos

Día de Andalucía (28th Feb)

On 28th February, Andalucía celebrates Día de Andalucía, a tribute to the rich cultural and historical heritage of Andalucía. On February 28, 1980, a referendum was held in Andalucía to decide whether the region would become an autonomous community with its own government and a certain degree of self-governance. The referendum resulted in an overwhelming majority of Andalusians voting in favour of autonomy. As a result, Andalucía was officially recognised as an autonomous community within Spain.

Towns celebrate with a bank holiday and a day of drinks, live music and dancing! You can read more about this celebration in my blog.

Most shops, bars and restaurants will be open.

Jueves Santo/Maundy Thursday and Viernes Santo/Good Friday

The Holy Week in March or April, with Jueves Santo (Maundy Thursday) and Viernes Santo (Good Friday), is a time for reflection and reverence. Semana Santa is a huge celebration in Spain and a real spectacle to observe. There are enormous parades of statues almost every night for a week and millions of people line the streets of Spain to watch. 

Palm Sunday is a great day to watch a daytime parade. In Cómpeta they take the statue of Jesus on a donkey from the little church at the end of Calle San Antionio around the town. 

On an evening they march various statues through the streets of Cómpeta, often by candlelight and in costume. It’s an emotive experience and you don’t need to be religous to feel the emotion.

Bars and restaurants will be open, smaller shops may close.  

Easter bank holiday Spain Fiesta del Trabajo/Labour Day bank holiday (1st May)

On 1st May, Spain honours workers worldwide with the Fiesta del Trabajo and a bank holiday to rest although typically anyone working in hospitality or retail will still be working. 

Shops, bars and restaurants are open. 

Noche del Vino/La Asunción (15th August)

Mid-August witnesses the vibrant Noche del Vino, paired with the religious observance of La Asunción. 

The 15th of August is a public holiday in Spain because it celebrates the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, a significant event in Catholic tradition. This day commemorates the belief that the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, was taken into Heaven body and soul at the end of her earthly life. The Feast of the Assumption is observed by Catholics around the world and is particularly important in Spain, a country with deep-rooted Catholic traditions.

In Cómpeta, Noche del Vino is one of the most important days of the year. People come from all over to celebrate the first harvest of the local grapes which eventually get turned into the famous “Cómpeta Vino”. During the day there is music, free food and performances in Plaza de la Vendimia and at night a famous flamenco artist chosen by the ayuntamiento will play until the early hours in the main square, Plaza Almijara. It’s a fantastic day of celebrations and the town really comes alive.

In Spain, this day is marked by a variety of local festivals and religious ceremonies, reflecting the country’s rich cultural and religious heritage. The celebrations often include processions, special church services, and in some regions, unique local festivities. It’s a day when many Spaniards spend time with family and friends, enjoying the summer weather and participating in the various events that take place throughout the country.

Read my blog on Noche del Vino here.

Bars, restaurants and some shops are open.

Noche del Vino

Día de la Hispanidad (12th October)

Dia de la Hispanidad, also known as Hispanic Day or National Day of Spain, is a national holiday celebrated in Spain on October 12th each year. This day commemorates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas in 1492, which marked the beginning of the encounter between Europe and the American continent. It’s slightly contravertial amongst the younger generations these days!

On Dia de la Hispanidad, various events and activities take place throughout Spain to celebrate the country’s history, culture, and contributions to the Hispanic world.

Bars, restaurants and shops are open.

Todos Los Santos/All Saints Day (1st November)

Spain observes All Saints Day with a profound sense of respect for the dead. On 1st November, families visit their departed loved ones in the cemeteries and lay flowers.

Bars, restaurants and shops are open as usual.

All Saints bank holiday Spain   

Día de la Constitución española (6th December)

Spain observes Día de la Constitución española on 6th December.

On this day in 1978, a referendum was held where the Spanish people overwhelmingly endorsed a new constitution, signifying a crucial step in Spain’s journey towards becoming a constitutional monarchy and a democratic state.

This transformation followed the reign of Franco, who led Spain from April 1, 1939, to November 20, 1975. After his death, Spain sought to establish a new constitution and political framework. The first elections in this new era were conducted on June 15, 1977. The resulting parliament was instrumental in drafting and ratifying the new constitution, with a resounding 88% approval in the December 6 referendum.

This date symbolises Spain’s transition from dictatorship to its present democratic form and holds significant importance.

Typically, Constitution Day is a time for quiet relaxation, often spent at home with family.

Additionally, as it is close to another national holiday on December 8th, many people take advantage of these days to enjoy an extended break, commonly referred to as a “Puente” or bridge.

Shops and businesses might choose to close, but bars and restaurants open as usual.

Día de la Inmaculada Concepción (8th December)

On 8th December, Spain celebrates the Día de la Inmaculada Concepción. It’s a significant day in the Catholic calendar – the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. This isn’t about the conception of Christ, which is a common misconception. Instead, it celebrates the belief that Mary, Jesus’ mother, was born free of original sin, a unique grace from God. This doctrine was emphasised by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854.

In the region of Andalucía (Cádiz, Málaga, and Tarifa), they perform Public Rosaries, where prayers are practised in the streets, instead of in churches.

Bars, restaurants and shops are open on this bank holiday.

Christmas Day (25th December)

Finally, the year in Spain and Cómpeta culminates with wonderful Christmas celebrations. The Spanish celebrate on Christmas Eve well into the early hours and the 25th is generally a bank holiday of rest at home. 

Shops and the vast majority of restaurants unless they cater to their English clients will be closed.

Fun Fact

In Spain, when a bank holiday occurs on a Tuesday or Thursday or there are two in one week like in December, it’s common for individuals to take an extended break by also taking off the adjoining Monday or Friday. This concept is referred to as a ‘puente’, which translates to ‘bridge’.


Spanish bank holidays paint a vibrant picture of the nation’s cultural, historical, and religious tapestry. Each holiday tells a story, bringing together communities in celebration and reverence. Next time you mark your calendar, remember the fascinating narratives behind these days!

Choosing a major holiday like the 6th of January, Easter week or Noche del Vino to visit Cómpeta is a great experience. If you would like to book your room to stay at Villa Andalucía, click the book now button below

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