St John and St Peter (24 and 28 June)
With the coming of the summer solstice, León is ablaze with festivities. Although St John and St Peter are not the city’s patron saints, their feast days attract enormous crowds and the streets are full of music and enjoyment. The origins of the festivities have to be sought in the ancestral rites of flowers, water and fire (St John’s bonfire is a custom that should not be missed). More recently the festivity was centred on the fairs held at the beginning of the 20th century and the need to trade with farmers. Little by little, the demand for festivities grew until it became what it is today, the Semana Grande “Great Week” of Festivities, lasting from the 20th to the 30th of June, when there are bullfights, cavalcades, street parties, musical events and all kinds of fun, with fairs and up to 200 side shows with quite a large budget inviting locals to enjoy themselves and tourists to come to our hotels (in the last six years, seven or eight new ones have opened). Of all the attractions, those not to be missed include firework displays (drawing crowds of up to 90,000), the Tapa Fair, the Car Park Rock Festival and the traditional romerías (short pilgrimages) rescued from the past. It’s a great time to forget everything and get to know the new image of a forward-looking city.
PROCESSION OF HISTORICAL BANNERS AND DECORATED CARTS
Decorated horse-drawn carts compete for awards along with banners as people sample local specialities and take part in a number of activities rooted deep in the city’s history. The local black pudding is a must.
* When: The Sunday before the 5th October (St Froilán’s Day).
* Where: Plaza del Grano, Plaza de Regla (in front of the Cathedral) and streets of the old quarter.