In honor of this week in the Basque Country of Spain is Semana Grande. I was there during that time one year and also the Regata which actually takes place during the first two Sundays of September.
Semana Grande is the biggest festival in northern Spain. Dedicated to the Virgin of Begoña, affectionately known as Amatxu, or Mother, to the Basques, this is a celebration of Basque heritage.
The Aste Nagusia (“Semana Grande” in Spanish and “Big Week” in English) festival a 9 day event held at mid August. The festival begins on Saturday.
Here I am on the first Saturday at a concert at Zurriola Beach.
At Aste Nagusia, Basque culture is celebrated at its fullest. There is traditional Basque music and dancing, as well as Basque traditional sports such as Pelota de Mano, wood chopping and stone carrying competitions. Swimming long distances to other towns is common. More to add, streets are lined with tents offering a wide variety of food and drinks. There is also a carnival set up in town. There are also parades of Gigantes and Cabezudos. Also many musicians come and have big performances.
One of the most important elements of the Semana Grande is, without a doubt, the International Fireworks Contest, which includes the participation of countries from around the world. And there are hours of big firework shows every night during Semana Grande.
Euskal Jaiak or (in English) boat races or Regatas take place the first two Sundays of September. This is a bigger deal to local Basques than Semana Grande. I was adamantly told by them. The boats they use are called traineras, which are essentially the same as regular rowing boats used in professional races. The Basques get absolutely wasted! Trash is full on the streets and alleys. Tapa bars are over preparing tapas and they still run out of food, as seen of tapa bars full of empty dishes. It is much fun and people also hangout at the beach and many people filling the water with their own boats. It is very wild!
Here I am in a sample trainera in Orio, Spain
Fun and colorful boat parties