Summer may be nearly over but we look back with fondness on exciting times last month. Unlike in countries in the North of the continent, here in Spain as in France and many other Catholic countries, the 15th August is a public holiday, a day on which no business will get done. For anyone used to a 24-hour culture of work, this can be extremely annoying but proper holy-days, as in days where everything is closed, are an extremely important part of Spanish life. Embracing them, and all the enjoyment they offer, will help you feel like a real resident, not just a tourist. The pace here is slower, and adjusting is key.

Here are some of the highlights in Andalucia. Be sure not to miss them next year!.

In Almería, from the 17-25th August, the region celebrates the Fiesta of the Virgin of the Sea, on August 20th, in Vejer de la Frontera, there is a night-time flamenco festival, Malaga’s horse-racing season continues until August 26th, in Niebla (in Huelva province) the theatre and dance festival starts in July and continues until August 28th. Later in the month, in Cadiz, enjoy the livestock market as part of the Feria Real de San Agustin (28th-31st) and, in Baeza, Jaen, from August 28th to September 3rd, the pilgrimage of the Virgen del Rosell, patron saint of La Yedra takes place: watch the Virgen’s statue being taken from her sanctuary in her village to the town of Baeza, and see the streets full of gypsy carriages and wagons. Finally, in Ronda, enjoy the Feria de Pedro Romero, which starts with a parade at 7.30pm on August 30th and continues to the 4th September.

You can find out more about festivals all year round in Andalucia here

Most of northern Europe has lost sight of such traditions and festivals, except for a few key ones; in Spain they are a reminder that this is both a notionally religious country and, perhaps more importantly, one that takes celebrations very seriously indeed!