On Saturday, August 18th, Bilbao prepares itself to receive Marijaia, the symbol of Great Week and festival mascot.
- 18 · 26 august
On Saturday, August 18th, Bilbao prepares itself to receive Marijaia, the symbol of Great Week and festival mascot. The nine-day non-stop fiesta begins with a txupinazo (a launching of a rocket and the reading of the proclamation of the fiesta) taking place in the Plaza del Teatro Arriaga. This 2018 is even more special since Aste Nagusia celebrates its 40th anniversary. It will really be a Great Week!
The festivities start with the grand entrance of Marijaia, a symbol of the fiesta and a 4-meter-tall festival mascot with her arms raised into the air as a sign of joy. Her song “Badator Marijaia” (“Here comes Marijaia”) is the festivities anthem and can be heard hundreds of times all around town during the Great Week. The festivities come to an end on Sunday, August 26th when Marijaia is set on fire.
Aste Nagusia has been celebrated since 1978 and includes comparsas – groups of singers, musicians and dancers that take part in the street festivities. There are 29 comparsas who put up their txosnas (stands and tents with food, drinks and music) on both sides of the Nervión River and around the streets of Casco Viejo (the Old Town) creating a spectacular atmosphere around Bilbao.
How to reach us
Although there are activities that take place all around Bilbao, the largest number of festivities happens in the areas around the Arenal, the Town Hall, Plaza del Arriaga, Plaza Circular and Casco Viejo. You can get there by underground (Abando and Casco Viejo stations), by tram (Pío Baroja, Abando and Arriaga) and by Bilbobus that has various lines with numerous stops around the city centre.
Where to eat