The carnival of Lleida, which dates back to the 16th century, was not recovered until 1984 but it has taken deep root and many city associations or, even people from the surrounding villages, look forward to taking part in the Rua on their floats and each "comparsa" tries to outdo the other in terms of brightness and colour.
Among the planned activities for these days, the Ball del Vermut also stands out. Plays and some other performances complete a very attractive programme that will end with the Sardine's Burial on Ash Wednesday.
Autumn Local Festival
The city holds its autumn local festival together with Saint Michael's Day (29th September) and the National Agricultural Machinery trade fair that owes its name to the saint.
With an essentially cultural character the Autumn Festival programme features different popular events that, under the name of Festes de Tardor, and for four days, offer artistic performances (theatre, "zarzuela" -Spanish musical comedies-, circus...), folklore (sardanas, "ball de bastons" -traditional Catalan dances -, habaneras and a dance festival). But the most attractive event is the Gran Nit de Bestiari i Foc, a large parade with the best Catalan fire-beasts headed by Lo Marraco and groups of devils displaying fireworks and "correfocs".
Saint James's candle-lit lights
The pilgrimage of Saint James is another of the most popular summer celebrations. On 24th July, the boys and girls of the city assemble in Esglèsia del Carme in order to make a pilgrimage to the cathedral, holding a candle-lit light. This is the way to remember the legend that refers to the moment when apostle Santiago came to Lleida to preach the Gospel and when he was at Major Street and Cavallers Street crossroads, he pricked one of his feet with a thorn. It was dark and he could not see well enough to take out the painful thorn. It was then when an angel came down from heaven, lit him with a candle-lit light and solved the problem. At this site, Capella del Peu del Romeu was built and, inside of it, there is a sculpture that represents this scene.
Raimat's grape harvest festival
At the end of the summer and beginning of autumn, there are many popular events again. At 11st and 12nd September, the Festa de la Varema is held in Raïmat, about 15 km from the city-centre. Some events are organised next to the well-known winery of Raïmat. Among them the highlights are the tread on grapes, the possibility of tasting the first grape juice and a performance that explains the legend about a plague of rabbits that there was in those fields and the introduction of some snakes in order to put an end to it.
Moors and Christians Festival
The Moors and the Christians festival of Lleida is usually held on May. With the celebration of this event, the city has proudly recovered a lost tradition whose background dates back to the 12th century.
It is a colourful event where about 700 people dressed up with splendid warrior uniforms from both sides, take active part. In the morning there is the so-called children's parade and at midday there is the introduction of the bands, which will play the city's festival own music.
In the afternoon the Moor and Christian groups gather in Seu Vella in order to parade along the most central streets of Lleida.
Before dusk the leaders of both sides begin some satirical speeches that give rise to an argument which is followed by a spectacular battle, with the incomparable landmark of Seu Vella as a backdrop.