Home   Calendar   Holidays   Spain   San Jose

San Jose in Spain

Saint Joseph's Day, also known as Fallas de San José, honors St Joseph, the Virgin Mary's spouse. It is held annually on March 19. This date is also known as Father's Day (Día del Padre) in many areas in Spain.

Tunnel of lights at Las Fallas, Valencia, Spain
A tunnel of lights at the festival of Las Fallas in Valencia, Spain.

What Do People Do?

Some people attend special church services to honor the life of St Joseph. St Joseph's Day also celebrates fathers. Many people make a special effort to visit their father or father figures. Some people also take fathers or father figures to a restaurant or give Father's Day gifts.

Many people wear traditional Valencian clothing on Saint Joseph's Day in some parts of Spain, particularly Valencia. Many men wear decorative shirts, waistcoats and hand woven shawls with long fringes. Many women wear long, wide dresses made of richly colored fabrics. They also wear jewelry, hair ornaments and hand woven, knitted or crocheted shawls. People display their clothing during parades.

Fallas (or falles) are constructed, displayed and ceremonially burnt in many towns and villages in the autonomous community of Valencia, including the city of Valencia. Fallas are elaborate scenes made of papier-mâché and cardboard. One is chosen by popular vote each year to be preserved in the regional museum. The rest are burnt during fireworks displays in the evening of March 19.

Public Life

March 19 is a public holiday in some years in some areas of Spain, including the autonomous community of Valencia. If this date is a public holiday, public life is generally quiet. Many stores are closed, although some bakers and food stores may be open. Public transport services generally run to a reduced schedule but there may be no services in rural areas. All-day parades and fireworks displays may cause some local disruption to traffic, particularly in the autonomous community of Valencia.

If March 19 is a public holiday and it falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, many businesses and organizations are also closed on Monday, March 18, or Friday, March 20.


According to the New Testament of the Christian bible, Joseph was engaged to the Virgin Mary when she became pregnant with Jesus. He married Mary and supported her and the young Jesus, therefore becoming an important father figure in Christianity.

St Joseph's feast day was adopted by the Franciscans in 1399 and was added to the list of Roman Catholic feast days in 1479. St Joseph's Day on March 19 became a compulsory Catholic feast day in 1621. Pope Pius XII introduced the Feast of St Joseph the Worker on May 1 to honor workers around the world in 1955.

The tradition of constructing and burning fallas arose at some stage in the Middle Ages. Carpenters burnt broken pieces of work and remnants of wood collected during the winter to celebrate the spring equinox. At some point, the fires were moved to St Joseph's Day as he is the patron saint of carpenters.


According to the bible, St Joseph was the Virgin Mary's spouse and played an important role in Jesus' upbringing. St Joseph is often portrayed with a carpenter's square or other wood working tools, the infant Jesus and a staff with lily blossoms.

Ninots and fallas are important symbols of Saint Joseph's Day in Valencia. Ninots are figures made of papier-mâché and cardboard. They are carefully constructed and usually life-sized or larger. A group of ninots based on a particular theme is assembled into a falla. A falla is a collection of ninots to make a scene depicting a story or situation. It is usually filled with firecrackers and fireworks.

The theme of a falla may be political or touch on controversial or taboo issues in Spanish society. There are similarities between the fallas and the floats paraded through the streets during the Rosenmontag celebrations in Germany.

San Jose Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
FriMar 192010San JoseCommon Local HolidaysAR, CL, CM, EX, GA, M, ML, MU, NA, PV, VC
SatMar 192011San JoseCommon Local HolidaysAR, CL, CM, EX, GA, M, ML, MU, NA, PV, VC
MonMar 192012San JoseCommon Local HolidaysAR, CL, CM, EX, GA, M, ML, MU, NA, PV, VC
TueMar 192013San JoseCommon Local HolidaysAR, CL, CM, EX, GA, M, ML, MU, NA, PV, VC
WedMar 192014San JoseCommon Local HolidaysAR, CL, CM, EX, GA, M, ML, MU, NA, PV, VC
ThuMar 192015San JoseCommon Local HolidaysCM, M, ML, MU, NA, PV, VC
FriMar 202015San JoseLocal holidayGalicia
SatMar 192016San JoseCommon Local HolidaysML, MU, PV, VC
SunMar 192017San JoseCommon Local HolidaysBasque Country
MonMar 202017San JoseLocal holidayExtremadura, Madrid
MonMar 192018San JoseCommon Local HolidaysMurcia, Valencia
TueMar 192019San JoseCommon Local HolidaysMurcia, Valencia
ThuMar 192020San JoseCommon Local HolidaysMurcia, Valencia

Quick Facts

Saint Joseph's Day honors St Joseph, the Virgin Mary's spouse. It is a public holiday in some parts of Spain on March 19 each year.

San Jose 2018

Monday, March 19, 2018 (Murcia, Valencia)

San Jose 2019

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 (Murcia, Valencia)


Name in other languages

San JoséSpanish
San JoseEnglish
San JoséGerman

Alternative names

El Día del PadreSpanish
Fathers' DayEnglish

List of dates for other years

Related holiday

Other holidays in March 2019 in Spain

Fun Holiday on March 19, 2019

You might also like

The Hindu deity Rahu.

Solar Eclipse Myths

The solar eclipse has inspired many mythical stories and influenced human behavior. Even today, eclipses of the Sun are considered bad omens in many cultures. more

Watching Lunar Eclipses

A lunar eclipse can be seen with the naked eye, unlike solar eclipses, which have special safety requirements. more

December Solstice Facts

10 things you may not know about the December Solstice, the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. more