CULTURAL AGENDA AND FESTIVITIES
San Sebastian offers a wide array of cultural and leisure options throughout the year. Below we recommend a few¨.
Winter in San Sebastian
Santo Tomás Fair (21st December)
The Santo Tomás celebrations take place on the 21st December in the Plaza de la Constitución, in which small kiosks are set up offering typical produce from the zone. The festivities are reminiscent of the numerous countrymen who came to San Sebastian to pay the rent for their lands to the owners, and who in the process took advantage of the opportunity to buy items that weren't available in their villages. Today, throughout the day of Santo Tomás, the foodstuff most consumed is "txistorra"
San Sebastian Day (20th January)
This is the most important day for the locals. The entire city is transformed for 24 hours by the constant drum roll to the sound of the music of Sarriegui, in a colourful and festive commemoration of the city. Between the street parties an insistent, vibrant and eye-catching drum parade stands out the most. On the morning of the 20th January, San Sebastian is invaded by the Children's Drum Parade, comprised of more than 5000 small boys and girls who coordinate to provide an unequalled and emotive spectacle.
Temporada de Sidra (Cider Season) (January - April)
The Cider Season runs from January to end of April and embodies one of the most deep-rooted activities in the social life of many residents. For months cider becomes the protagonist of many events that intend to bring the virtues of this product to light. To attend any one of the cideries of Guipuzcoa supposes the completion of a rite, the same across the entire region. There exists a traditional cidery menu, more or less including tortilla of cod, cod in salsa or fried cod with green peppers, ox chops and a desert of cheese, nuts and sweet apple preserve, all of which hosed down with plenty of cider. At the shout of "Txotx!" all guests get up from the table and approach the barrels in order to taste the different ciders of the house.
"Caldereros" and Carnavals (February)
The Carnavals have a special impact on San Sebastian. During these festivities parades, carriage and group competitions all take place, relying on a large number of participants. The day of Las Iñudes (Maids) and of Los Artzaias (Shepherds) are celebrated a few days before the Carnavals. On these days the courtship between the maids and shepherds when they came down to town is recalled. The ‘Caldereros' are an anticipative announcement of Caranvals.
Autumn in San Sebastian
Semana de Cine Fantástico y de Terror (Horror and Fantastical Cinema Week) (October - November)
Between the end of October and beginnings of November, the theatres and streets of San Sebastian are transformed into an improvised stage for the showing of a horror film in order to welcome the Horror and Fantastical Cinema Week. The programme additionally includes concerts and exhibitions that complete the offering of this particular genre.
Spring in San Sebastian
Festival of Cinema and Human Rights (April)
Every month of April, San Sebastian reinforces its commitment to solidarity by celebrating the Festival of Cinema and Human Rights. With the cinema in the backdrop, accompanied by presentations and talks, the event contributes towards sensitising the citizenship towards the grave problems and realities that are abundant in our society.
Summer in San Sebastian
Surfilm Festival (June)
The intimate relation between San Sebastian and the world of surfing has its main exponent in the Surfilm Festival. The waves of the world of surfing reach the theatre halls and the cultural centres of the city to offer cinema, music and care-free presentations related to the sport to the public.
dFeria - Theatre Fair (22nd - 24th June)
The cultural summer season is inaugurated each year by the dFERIA, an unavoidable event of national prestige for lovers and professional of the scenic arts.
International Festival of Jazz (21st - 25th July)
During the second fortnight of July, San Sebastian moves to the rhythm of jazz. Greats such as James Brown, Liza Minelli, Bobby McFerrin and B.B. King have come down to the beaches, theatres, squares and auditoriums of the city to move the crowd during the festival of international recognition.
Quincena Musical (August - September)
During the months of August and September San Sebastian becomes the home of the classical music season which has now completed its 70th year as a tradition: the Quincena Musical. El Kursaal, the churches of Santa María and San Vicente, the Victoria Eugenia theatre and other scenes of the city accommodate huge symphonic orchestras for this event, along with soloists of worldwide prowess who offer five weeks of the best classical music in the world.
Semana Grande (Week of 15th August)
Always coinciding with the 15th August, the day of the Virgin, during Semana Grande in San Sebastian the city throws itself into parties and fun. During the week different activities are combined such as the International Firework Competition right in Concha Bay, horse races in the Hippodrome of San Sebastian, the running of the bulls in the San Sebastian Arena 2016, and the best musical programme in Sagües, along with many others dotted around the city.
The International Firework Competition deserves special mention for its tradition, quality and for taking place in the most beautiful Concha Bay. The reflections off the sea and sounds caused by the fireworks are worthy of admiration. This festival is so prestigious that pyrotechnics from all over the world come to participate.