Public holidays and important dates in Spain 2016
Here is a list of national public holidays in Spain 2016, plus regional and school holidays, daylight savings, Mother's and Father's Days and other important dates in Spain's holiday calendar.
The Spanish government determines the public holidays each year. Public holidays also differ between Spanish regions because each community observes the set Spanish national holidays alongside the regional holidays that their local governments choose each year. In 2016, Spain has a total of eight national holidays, four regional holidays and two municipal days.
Spanish national holidays are busy periods, particularly if a holiday falls on a Thursday or Tuesday and employees take a 'puente' (bridge) holiday of four days. The proposal to move public holidays to Mondays to avoid this practice never materialised.
Regional holidays usually coincide with local Spanish festivals and can be a spectacular time to visit a new city. However, as some of Spain's festivals are world renown, accommodation fills up quickly and prices are inflated so it's important to book early.
Holidays that fall on weekends are sometimes replaced with alternate days (usually the following Monday), if the regional government so chooses. More recently, however, alternate days have not always been given.
Many businesses close during national and regional holidays in Spain.
National and public holidays in Spain
((N) – national holidays
(R) – regional holidays
January 1: New Year’s Day (Año Nuevo) (N)
January 6: Epiphany / Three Kings' Day (Dia de los Reyes Magos) (N)
Elaborate parades are held in cities across Spain to celebrate the arrival of the Three Kings.
February 29: Day of Andalusia (R)
March 1: Day of Balearic Islands (R)
March 19: Saint Joseph's day (San José) (R) – Basque Country, Melilla, Murcia and Valencia.
Saint Joseph's day coincides with the end of the Valencia three-week Fallas festival that sees up to 400 large bonfire statues burnt to the ground.
March 24: Maundy Thursday (Jueves Santo) (R) – all regions except Catalonia.
March 25: Good Friday (Viernes Santo) (N)
March 28: Easter Monday (Lunes de Pascua) (R) – Balearic Islands, Basque Country, Catalonia, La Rioja, Navarre and Valencia.
Semana Santa (Holy Week) festivals are held throughout Spain for a week around Easter, with Seville holding the most famous parade.
April 23: St George's Day (San Jorge) – Catalonia [not an official holiday].
April 23: Day of Aragon / Day of Castile and Léon (R)
May 1: Labour Day/Worker's Day (Día del Trabajo) (N) – in 2016, it will be observed on Monday 2 May in Andalusia, Aragon, Asturias, Canary Islands, Castile and León, and Extremadura.
May 2: Day of Madrid (R)
May 15: Saint Isidore (San Isidro) – Madrid capital [not an official holiday].
Food and fun mark Fiestas de San Isidro in Madrid.
May 16: Whit Monday or Pentecost Monday (R) – Catalonia
May 17: Galician Literature Day (R)
May 26: Corpus Christi (Fiesta del Corpus Christi) (R) – Castilla-La Mancha
May 30: Day of the Canary Islands (R)
May 31: Day of Castilla-La Mancha (R)
June 9: Day of Murcia / Day of La Rioja (R)
June 24: St John's Day (San Juan) (R) – Catalonia and Galicia.
July 25: St James' Day (Santiago Apostol) (R) – Basque Country, La Rioja, Madrid and Navarre.
July 25: Day of Galicia (R)
July 28: Cantabrian Institutions Day (R) – Cantabria
August 15: Assumption of Mary (Asunción de la Virgen) (N)
September 2: Day of Ceuta (R)
September 8: Day of Asturias / Day of Extremadura (R)
September 11: Day of Catalonia (Fiesta Nacional de Catalunya) – marks the anniversary of the recapture of Barcelona in 1714 [not an official holiday].
Flags are held high on the National Day of Catalonia.
September 12: Festival of Abraham’s Sacrifice (Fiesta del Sacrificio) (R) – Ceuta and Melilla.
September 15: Day of the Bien Aparecida (patron saint) (R) – Cantabria
September 17: Day of Melilla [not an official holiday]
October 7: Day of the Basque Country
October 9: Day of Valencia [not an official holiday] – a historical commemoration of the date in 1238 when King James I officially entered the city of Valencia and freed it from Moorish rule.
October 12: Spain's National Day / Columbus Day (N)
November 1: All Saints’ Day (Fiesta de Todos los Santos) (N)
November 9: Virgin of Almudena (Virgen de la Almudena) – Madrid capital [not an official holiday]
Cities around Spain light up for Navidad in December, with festive Christmas markets to browse as well.
December 3: Day of Navarre
December 6: Spanish Constitution Day (Día de la Constitución) (N)
December 8: Immaculate Conception (La Immaculada) (N)
December 25: Christmas (Navidad) – falls on a Sunday in 2016.
December 26: observed Christmas holiday / Saint Stephen's Day (R) – all regions except Basque Country, Canary Islands, Galicia and La Rioja.
Other important dates
March 19: Father's Day (coincides with St Joseph's Day).
March 27: Clocks go forward one hour as daylight saving time (DST) starts.
May 1: Mother’s Day (Dia de la Madre) – first Sunday in May.
October 30: Clocks go back one hour (DST ends).
Halloween 31: Although the All Saints Day on November 1 is the more important occasion in Spain, some people celebrate Halloween too.
The academic year in Spain is from mid-September to mid-June. There are three terms of approximately 11 weeks:
- mid-September to December (then a two week holiday);
- after Epiphany to Easter (then two week holiday);
- after Easter to mid-June (then a 10–12 week holiday).
Schools are closed on public and local religious holidays. Check with the website of your autonomous community or school for exact dates for 2016.
Photo credit: pedroreyna (photo 1), praktyczny.przewodnik (photo 2), ch images (photo 3), Guijarro85 (photos 4, 5, 6), w:es:Usuario:Barcex via Wikimedia Commons (photos 7, 8, 9), Ivan McClellan (photo 10), Jorge Dalmau y Pablo Dalmau Photo (photo 11).
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