Saint Sebastian dressed for the party

We dedicate this month's blog to two important dates in which our city dresses up as a party: he 15 August and the January 20.  

August 15: celebration of Semana Grande

The first date is a big day for San Sebastian because it celebrates a Big week around the festival of Assumption of the Virgin Mary, each 15 August. If you travel through the Spanish geography this summer, you will realize that it is a very important date as many places celebrate their festivals and popular festivals for the Virgin of August. but our Aste Nagusia (“Big Week” in Basque) is special. What are we going to tell you? Imagine adding to the usual attractions of the city (beach, mountains, gastronomy...) a whole week full of events and activities for all tastes and ages: concerts, horse races, swimming trips, giants and big heads, dances... And al nightfall, the magic of International Fireworks Competition on La Concha Bay

The fire of August 31

On the last day of the month, the people of San Sebastian commemorate a tragic episode in their history: the fire that devastated San Sebastián on August 31, 1813. The event took place at the end of the Spanish War of Independence. The Napoleonic army retreated towards the French border before the advance of the allied troops commanded by Wellington. However, the Gipuzkoan capital was occupied by the French. Then, in the summer of 1813, English and Portuguese troops took the city to force the French to surrender. The two sides fought and as a result: fire and destruction in the city. The people of San Sebastian watched horrified as those who came to free them committed looting, rape, killed innocent civilians... Only one side of Calle de la Trinidad, in the Old Town, was left standing, which from then on was called Calle 31 de Agosto. From that day on, the inhabitants began to rebuild their beautiful city and promised that they would never forget it.

In this way, and for years, every August 31st txistularis first thing in the morning they tour the old part. Next, there is a mass in the Church of Santa María del Coro, patron saint of the city. In the afternoon, there is a tribute to the victims and a staging of the assault on the city. The day ends with the lights being turned off and the candles lit on 31 de Agosto street, followed by a ceremonial walk by torchlight while listening to the ancient San Sebastián Hymn. The writer Toti Martinez de Lezea in his novel The gap tells the story wonderfully well.

August 31. Donosti 31.8.11 Photo JOSE MARI LOPEZ

January 20: San Sebastian Day

The other important and first festival of the city is the January 20San sebastian day, its patron saint. In honor of him the famous drumming: parades that go through the streets to the sound of drums. Among the participants, some play the drum and wear military uniforms from the Napoleonic era, and others, who are dressed as cooks, give the reply by playing wooden barrels. They are 24 very intense and exciting hours for all San Sebastian. Those Lacunza IH students who have been lucky enough to live with us that day have wonderful memories:

If you feel like coming to visit us and enjoy our parties live, don't forget that in Lacunza IH San Sebastian We are experts in organizing quality linguistic and cultural immersion stays. We will wait for you.