Have you ever been to any popular Spanish Fiesta? Are you planning to visit a town in Spain for its summer festivals? Or is it that you’re just curious and want to know what that “peña” word means?
In short, the dictionary defines it as “a group of friends“. That is one of the meanings of the word peña and indeed peñas are (or at least used to be) composed just of groups of friends but they have evolved towards today’s “Cultural and recreational associations”.
Some 50 to 60 years ago a few peñas (groups of friends) begun organising events for the youth in several cities and villages across Spain, because back then most of the Festivals were purely religious and they lacked activities to entertain them.
The fact is that peñas (the current cultural associations) vary in size from just a dozen members upto hundreds. Some are dedicated to sports (football, cycling, etc.), some prefer to focus on traditions (bullfighting, folk music, etc.). What originally were a few mates playing their own guitars, cooking lunch and sharing time during the festivals, nowadays have become organisations that prepare concerts, put up a bars and festival tents, provide catering meals, give away discounts, drinks, and much more.
Do join a peña if you are in a Festival in Spain!!
You will then become part of the celebrations!
This is the arrival of the peñas to the Bullring in Pamplona