Is it just me, or is this theme of throwing things at festivals getting silly?! We’ve had tomatoes, tuna fish, colours, water, and oranges, and now wine; I’m surprised nobody has taken to tossing beer around but then I guess that happens most nights at the pub anyway!
So, the Haro Wine Festival – it’s perfect if you enjoy wine and by that I mean drinking wine or pouring it all over yourself. Sounds like a waste of a good drink to me, but then Haro is in Spain’s La Rioja region so there’s an abundance of wine here anyway.
What’s the Celebration?
Haro’s Wine Festival happens every year on June 29th which is the day of the town’s patron saint, San Pedro. Officially it’s called St Peter’s (San Pedro’s) Feast Day, but here in Spain they just like to call it the Wine Fight!
If you want to catch the whole event you’ll need to get up early that morning because at 7am the town’s people march in a procession through the town to the Cliffs of Bilibio where they have Mass.
7am may not sound too bad if you’re generally an early-bird, but, this is after spending the night of the 28th June having a huge party that involves the whole town. Many of the town’s citizens don’t even bother going to bed so if you’re a party animal yourself expect to stay up all night.
Everyone in the procession to the cliffs up the mountain dresses in a white shirt with a red scarf, though by the time the festival is over don’t expect your shirt to be white any more.
(Source: Lonely Planet)
After mass the free-for-all begins. Basically everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, starts throwing red wine around from water guns, jugs, bottles, buckets and anything else that can hold a liquid. It takes just a few minutes for everyone to turn purple! And then there’s the drinking of the wine too. Copious amounts can be drunk if you haven’t already sprayed it over everyone. Of course there are also the inevitable wine drinking competitions too and nobody will be asking if you’re old enough to drink!
Around midday everyone heads back down to the town square and the celebrations continue through the day including a bullfight in Haro’s bullring, lots of partying, and traditional dances. The whole festival is a lot of fun, especially if you like a drop or two of red wine!
by Claire Bolgil, Travel Writer Extraordinaire