There are a seemingly endless number of festivals that occur throughout the Basque Country and the months of July and August are prime time. Just about every town and city has their own particular celebrations which were historically centered around a patron saint but these days are generally more focused on other events. These festivals are a time for the entire town or city to come together in celebration of their heritage and identity.
Most festivals have their own peculiar traditions but there are many events that are common in almost all of them, such as concerts, parades of giant puppets, fireworks, cooking competitions, and lots of eating and drinking. It is also typical to have celebrations of everything Basque related. That means there are people dressed in Basque clothing that perform traditional Basque dance and music as well asall of the Herri Kirolak (Basque rural sports) which includes stone carrying and wood chopping competitions. For this reason, attending a Basque festival is one of the best places to get a glimpse of a wide variety of customs and traditions.
There are so many choices of festivals to go to in the Basque Country. You can run with the bulls in Pamplona, party with Marijaia in Bilbao, bang on some drums at the Tamborrada in San Sebastian, or watch Celedon descend with his umbrella from the church in Vitoria-Gasteiz. Just pick the one that sounds best to you. There are all fairly similar but each has their own distinct flavor. Regardless of which one you choose, you will be handsomely rewarded and experience something that you will never forget.
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