Festivals and traditions

Haurren tanborrada, San TelmotanZumaia, Oikia and Artadi celebrate their traditional festivals in much the same way as in bygone years. We have many different festivals in the town, each one with its own unique elements and peculiarities.

The most famous festivals are the San Telmo ones, easily recognisable by the blue suits worn by the “arrantzales” (fishermen) and the special seafaring flavour that penetrates the atmosphere during this event. It is important to note that the San Telmo festival is held on a different date every year, since it is traditionally celebrated eight days after Easter Sunday.  It is always, therefore, held on a Monday. Another noteworthy element of the festival is the procession leading up to San Telmo Chapel, which moves to the sound of the “San Telmo March” played by the Municipal Music Band. The San Telmo festivities are held the weekend before the Monday, and are then repeated again the following weekend. The following are some of the most traditional and popular events that take place every year: music and dancing in the Guild Hall square, vaquillas (amateur bullfights with young bulls) on Itzurun Beach, children and adults' musical processions, professional pelota matches, boat races and other sporting events, with special trials and activities for youngsters.

San Pedroko prozesioaNevertheless, the town’s patron saint festivals are held on Saint Peter’s day. Although nowadays, the old custom of wearing a suit on this day has fallen into disuse, these festivals are nevertheless more solemn in nature. The feast day of San Pedro, or Saint Peter, is held on 29 June. The festival programme generally includes the traditional giant figures and cabezudos (carnival figures with characteristically large heads), dulzaina players, bull running on Itzurun beach, a music procession and fireworks.

Oikia celebrates the feast day of Saint Bartholomew, the 24th of August, with an attractive programme of rural festivities which includes processions, exhibitions of Basque rural sports, performances by bertsolaris (masters of the art of improvised Basque poetry) and, once every two years, the traditional "Oilasko bilketaren festa" (chicken hunt).

Aizkolariak ArtadinThe Summer Festivals, formerly known as Semana Grande, are held throughout the month of August and generally include boat races, the Dinastía Etxabe pelota tournament, the Verbena de Gala festivities, water sports, the Basque Festivals, characterised by their traditional flavour of cider and talos (flat cornbread) and Octopus Day. The first eleven days of August are given over to the Verano Musical, an international music festival which offers daily concerts in the auditorium of the Aita Mari cinema.

Festival calendar



  • "Reyes Magos" parade


  • Carnival poster competition.
  • Carnivals (the exact date changes from year to year).
  • San Telmo Literature Prize


  • "Euskara, bestela ez gara" conferences


  • San Telmo festivals (held 8 days after Easter Sunday).


  • "Maiatza Dantzan" Dance festival.
  • European Geoparks Week


  • Photo competition (black and white).
  • Festivals of the Alai district 
  • Handmade crafts fair
  • San Juan and Sun Festival
  • San Pedro festivity (June 29)


  • Summer school (holiday activities for children).
  • Street events and activities all month long: music, dance, theatre, etc.
  • Summer music school.
  • Summer sports school. 
  • Street shows
  • Summer concerts
  • Narrondo district festivals (Saint Christopher’s day, July 10).


  • Summer Music Festival (Firs days of August).
  • Summer Festivals: Basque Fest, boat races, special festival, cuadrilla (traditional groups of friends) day, etc. 
  • Oikia district festivals.


  • Zumaia triatlhon
  • Artadi district festivals (Saint Michael’s day, September 29th).
  • Octopus Day (third Saturday).


  • Flysch Trail mountain race


  • Saint Cecily day and music festival.
  • Clarinet Marathon
  • Euskara Week
  • Christmas festivities. 
  • Young bertsolaris Festival (improvised Basque poets).
  • St Silvester's day race