Be Basque, festivals with a Basque identity
In Bilbao Bizkaia, you can breathe the Basque identity and culture in every corner. Among its many tourist attractions are its famous festivals, where locals and visitors come together to celebrate different festivals unique in the world.
Here the fiestas are a perfect opportunity to immerse in Basque culture and live an authentic experience.
This article is about the celebrations with a true Basque touch that are not to be missed. Let's get started!
Ocho de Mayos in Orduña
Every year on May 8th, Orduña celebrates its festival week in honour of the Virgin of Antiquity. The "Ocho de Mayos" festival lasts for a week with a varied programme full of activities for all ages.
From competitions, street festivals and fairs, to children's activities and communal meals, Orduña's festival week offers endless options to enjoy with family or friends.
Zapato Azule in Ondarroa
Ondarroa celebrates the Zapato Azule festival, which means "blue Saturday" in Basque, on the last Saturday in June, in honour of the blue smocks worn by the arrantzales (fishermen).
The festival in the old part of Ondarroa offers activities for all tastes, from sports to music, not forgetting the popular T-shirt fair.
The Día de la Magdalena
July 21st is Magdalena or Madeleine Day, an annual celebration that takes place at the mouth of the Mundaka estuary. On this day, the coastal towns of Mundaka and Bermeo compete for ownership of the rock, with the town of Elantxobe acting as judge.
Despite the rivalry, Magdalena Day always ends in a party. It is essential to wear the appropriate clothing to fit in with the festive atmosphere: blue and brown clothes and a checkered scarf around your neck.
Aste Nagusia, Bilbao's festival week
The Semana Grande, or Aste Nagusia in Basque, begins on the first Saturday after the 15th of August and offers a wide variety of activities for all tastes. The undisputed protagonist is Marijaia, a woman in traditional costume and knotted headscarf who never stops dancing.
JDuring these festivities, you can enjoy a wide range of concerts, children's activities, competitions, shows and the "txosnas", stalls with music, food and drink set up by different groups on both sides of the river, the Plaza Circular and the Albia Gardens.
Geese Day in Lekeitio
On 5 September, the fishing village of Lekeitio dresses up to celebrate one of the most eagerly awaited events of the year: the Day of the Geese. This tradition, which dates back more than three centuries, is the highlight of the local festivities and attracts thousands of visitors who flock to the harbour and the streets of the town.
On Geese Day, apart from the sporting competition, there is also music, dancing, food and drink all over the town of Lekeitio. Visitors can also enjoy other activities such as the rowing boat regatta or the paella and potato omelette competitions.
Arrantzale Eguna in Bermeo
Arrantzale Eguna, the fishermen’s day, is held on September 9th and is one of the most eagerly awaited festivities in Bermeo. It is a tribute to the hard work of the fishermen and fisherwomen who have forged the identity of this town.
On this day, the village fills with colour and joy with activities for all ages. The locals dress up in traditional costumes, while the younger children enjoy children's activities.
In short, if you are looking for typical Basque festivals in the coming months, this is your to-do list to make the most of the very special celebrations in Bilbao Bizkaia. We hope to see you there!