The Fiestas del Pilar are celebrated in Zaragoza every year, around October 12. These celebrations are in honor of the Virgen del Pilar. They usually begin on the Saturday before the 12th and end on the Sunday after. It is a big party in the streets, with thousands of visitors, activities throughout the day, music in the streets and we can drink and dance until late at night before returning to Valencia.
What it is / What it consists of
There are many and varied events during the Fiestas del Pilar, here we are going to tell you all about them: The famous “Pregón” starts the festivities, there is live music, activities in the streets, an official “Certamen de Jotas” and a lot of animation. All this thanks to the welcoming character of the people of Zaragoza, who are passionate about their patron saint. There are three most characteristic events: the first and most important, besides being the best known: “The Offering of Flowers” which is celebrated on October 12, the day of the patron saint and Columbus Day. It is also worth mentioning another event, the “Ofrenda de Frutos”, on the morning of the 13th. Perhaps one of the most unknown but at the same time one of the most spectacular events is the “Rosario de Cristal” which is celebrated in the afternoon-evening of October 13.
The history of Zaragoza dates back more than 2000 years and has numerous vestiges of past times. Already inhabited in the Bronze Age, its origin is Iberian, dating back to the 3rd century B.C., and over the centuries it has been settled by Romans, Muslims and practically all the civilizations that have occupied the Iberian Peninsula.
It was the capital of the kingdom of Aragon (which, when united with the kingdom of Castile, gave rise to the current Spain) and the seat where all the kings of the crown of Aragon were crowned for hundreds of years.
Today Zaragoza is the fifth largest city in Spain in terms of population and combines modernity, tradition and history with elegance and pride. It is located on the banks of the Ebro River, the largest in Spain, and its waters reflect the beauty of its two cathedrals (the Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar of Zaragoza, and the Seo or Cathedral of the Savior of Zaragoza) and the city. Its Mudejar ensemble is a World Heritage Site, the impressive Basilica del Pilar houses frescoes by one of our most famous and renowned painters: Goya, and the Plaza de la Hispanidad is a place you will immortalize with many photos.
After two years of (almost) hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Fiestas del Pilar are back as we knew them. A reason to celebrate for many Aragonese people. This year, more than 180 music and theater groups will animate the city. The foodtrucks, the Rio y Juego space in the Expo, the crowded Espacio Zity and the Valdespartera fairground, and the Pilar Joven in the Multipurpose Hall are also back. But that’s not all! The programming of this 2022 incorporates novelties such as the Drone Night Show -on October 14, with 200 drones that will fly over the city- or the Extraordinary Grand Prize of Jota Jesús García, within the historical Official Jota Contest.
Among the great originalities of these Pillars that are about to fall is the decentralization. From Friday, October 7 to next Sunday, 184 groups -80% Aragonese- will perform in 26 districts and rural neighborhoods of Zaragoza. In total, 10 stages will be distributed throughout the city: two in the Plaza del Pilar, and one in the José Antonio Labordeta Park, Estación del Norte, Centro de Historias, Parque de las Delicias, kiosk Q4, Los Incrédulos Park, La Paz Park and in the Geodesic Dome of La Granja Park. In the words of the Deputy Mayoress of Zaragoza and Councilor for Culture, Sara Fernández, it will be “a festival for the whole city and in the whole city”, in one of the “most awaited” Pillars.
“a festival for the whole city and in the whole city”Sra Fernández Deputy Mayoress of Zaragoza and Councilor for Culture
On Saturday, October 8, the festivities will officially begin. Interpeñas will hold its traditional proclamation at 17.00 hours in the Plaza of Spain, and then will the Union Peñista, at 17.30 hours in the Plaza de Santa Engracia. At 18.00 hours, the City Council will hold the ceremony of Medals and Distinctions of the City, and at 19.00 hours will begin the parade from Paseo María Agustín. The route will pass through Puerta del Carmen, César Augusto Avenue, Coso and Alfonso I, until reaching the protagonist Plaza del Pilar. At 21.00 hours will be the reading of the municipal proclamation, followed by the “Canto a la libertad” and the announcing rocket and…. the festivities will have begun!
Music of all kinds
The first to liven up the Fiestas del Pilar 2022 will be the group La Pegatina (Saturday 8), on the Ambar Fuente De Goya Stage. In the same space, located in the Plaza del Pilar, will also perform Fangoria (Sunday 9); Independance (Monday 10); Pablo Alborán (Tuesday 11); the show ‘Vida’ of Factory Productions and the winners of the Contest of Jota and Semblante Aragonés (Wednesday 12); Tako, Layla Añil, Paul Depablo and Diario Fantasma (Friday 14); Jotalent, Artistas del Gremio and Fresquito and Mango (Saturday 15); and Los Estanques, Anni B. Sweet, Ángel Stanich, Delacueva and the choir Coro Amici Musicae (Sunday 16).
Rhythm will also play a leading role in other venues. In the Winter Garden, located in the Parque Grande, will play groups like Goodspeed You Black Emperor! (Monday 10); Ángelus Apátrida (Tuesday 11); Madeleine Peyroux (Wednesday 12); Zahara (Thursday 13); Macy Gray (Friday 14); and Toquinho (Saturday 15), among others. Also 10 bands will perform at the Geodesic Dome of San José, such as the Arrabal Big Band or the Canal Band. Travis Bird and TéCanela (Sunday 9) and Joana Serrat and Bigott (Wednesday 12) will play at the La Paz Park. In addition… there will be flamenco! Up to six artists will take to the stage in Casablanca’s Parque de los Incrédulos. For Fernandez, will be a “very diverse” parties with “great support for local talent”, which meet the premise of the department he leads.
Jota beyond the proclamation
The pregonera of the Fiestas del Pilar 2022 will be LA JOTA, represented by two pairs of joteros. But we will find folklore sprinkled throughout the entire program. On Sunday, October 10, the Official Jota Contest will take place in the Auditorium. This year, with record participation: 359 people. Meanwhile, the stage near the Fuente de la Hispanidad will host 25 groups and 11 rounds of joteras, 16 children’s schools, 3 regional houses, a group from El Salvador and the winners of Eurovision 2021, Kalush Orchestra, on Friday 14, representing Ukraine, this year’s guest country. Nor will there be no lack of the itinerant joteras rounds that bring so much joy to the city.
Comparsa of giants, puppets and tragachicos (puppet shows)
The Pillars are festivities for the whole family. That is why this year the activities for the youngest members of the family will return to normal. The Expo Río y Juego area will be back, from Sunday 9 to Sunday 16, from 11.30 to 14.00 and from 17.30 to 20.00 hours, except on school days. And with them will also return the Puppets of Cachiporra, in the Plaza de los Sitios, and the Puppet Park. The City Council has not forgotten the Comparsa de Gigantes y Cabezudos and the traditional Tragachicos. Both entertainments will be touring the neighborhoods of Zaragoza in search of the liveliest children in the city.
Circus, dance, theater and? Fireworks!
What could be considered the “Fiestas del Pilar post-pandemic” come loaded with activities. 5 contemporary circus companies, 9 dance companies and 6 theater companies will take to the stages of the Parque de las Delicias, the Centro de Historias and the kiso Q4 in Paseo Echegaray. But there’s more! The Councilor for Culture has pointed out that to these will have to be added “those that will be held in different neighborhoods and that still do not have a fixed stage”. Also, on the big days will have to look to the sky. The program includes 5 nights of fireworks, which will be launched at City Hall (Saturday 8); in Oliver Park (Tuesday 11); in Tío Jorge Park (Thursday 13); in Valdespartera (Saturday 15) and in Macanaz (Sunday 16).
Finally, we encourage you to take a look at the programming of the Sala Multiusos, the Teatro Principal, the Teatro del Mercado and the Civic Centers of the city, where you will surely find events of your style.