Corpus Christi is Granada’s biggest fair. It starts every year on a Saturday, at midnight, with the alumbrao, when thousands of lights are turned on the main entrance to the fairgrounds. The fair ends on the following Saturday with a fireworks display.
The Corpus Christi fair was held for the first time by royal decree, more than five hundred years ago. It is one of the city’s most cheerful traditions. Throughout its history the fair has given the people of Granada a break in their everyday lives, for spending a few days of good, healthy fun together.
The tang of the Corpus fair hangs in the air and the people of Granada get all dressed up to enjoy a full range of cultural activities and bullfights. They also love the exhilarating fairground attractions and meeting with friends in gaily decorated casetas (privately owned marquees which are temporarily built on the fairground).
The fair generally takes place in June but it is a moveable event that depends on when Easter is due. To calculate when Corpus Christi starts, count 60 days from Easter Monday, which is the day after Easter Sunday, and the result is Corpus Christi Thursday, the "big day" of the week.
The atmosphere of the fair can be enjoyed both day and night. There is a flamenco ambience and elegant carriages loaded with people dressed in typical regional costumes parading up and down the aisles between casetas, carefully decorated down to the smallest detail.
Unlike other ferias, the Granada fair boasts public casetas interspersed among the private ones, so visitors can have free access to them.
Two processions take place in the city streets during the week-long event:
On the Wednesday of each year, the Tarasca, a mannequin dressed in the costume that will be in fashion the coming season, is paraded throughout the city. She is mounted on a fierce dragon who cowers at her feet. The best-kept secret in Granada is the costume the Tarasca will wear that day, only revealed when she makes her appearance. It could be said that the Tarasca is the pagan counterpoint to the religious festival.
Granada's grand festival is organised around Thursday, when the Corpus Christi leaves the Cathedral. The streets are jam-packed with thousands of citizens who come to contemplate the procession of the Blessed Sacrament.
A small procession known as the Octave of the Corpus marches in the vicinity of the Cathedral on the Sunday after the Corpus Christi festival.
Enjoy the Fair! Download the dance known as La Reja, courtesy of the Provincial Association of Choirs and Dances of Granada.