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Festivities of Hondarribia - Gora Ama Guadalupekoa!

Published on 4 September 2018, In Event

The big day is coming. Between the preparations and the rehearsals, the city is in celebration. The various cultural events that took place throughout the summer are multiplying in the run up to September 8, Alarde's day. It is "THE" big day for all the citizens. Passions and feelings express themselves in harmony, like the sea lily which flourishes only for a day to impregnate its aroma all that surrounds it.

We must return in 1638 to find the origin of this celebration.

During the 30 years’ war, the troops of the king of France, Louis XIII, besieged the city, then walled and surrounded by the sea and marshes. Nothing or nobody could come in or go out ... The people endured incredible suffering. At the end of their heroic resistance, they find themselves in the parish cathedral and entrust their fate to the Virgin of Guadalupe, patron saint of the city, whose sanctuary is located on the neighboring mountain. They swear that if they manage to save themselves from such a desperate situation, they will thank her forever and will go in procession each year to her sanctuary

The city resists 69 days of siege, and it is finally released on September 7, 1638. Since then, the wish to the Virgin of Guadalupe is celebrated every September 8, during the procession of the Alarde de Armas (or "general exhibition of arms" inescapable in all the cities of the Basque Country since the Middle Ages).

Although for some the celebration still has a religious character, it has become today a cultural event very important for all citizens of Hondarribia. Fifes and drums invade the city, which dresses in red and white, in black and blue. First in an orderly fashion, during the parade. Then, after the "Dismiss!", It is a merry and colorful crowd that celebrates its village until the wee hours of the morning.

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