Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tamborrada - Drumroll Please!!!!

After recovering fully, I thought I would write about the Tamborrada - the huge party that happened here on January 20th. As you might already know, although I just found this out the other day, every day in the year belongs to a Saint in the Catholic church. Well, January 20th is the day of Saint Sebastian. As a result, the town of San Sebastian has a huge party to honor this. While you would think that they would honor the Saint on this day, they actually dont and instead throw a huge party that involves thier history instead.

At midnight on January 19th, everyone gathers in the Plaza de Constitution to kick-off the party. Since this used to be where old bull fights and public gatherings were, the whole square is surrounded by apartment buildings, each with a numbered balcony that faces the inward square. This is where they used to watch the bull fights and everything from and probably was the best seat in the house, but I wasn't complaining on the ground! Everyone in town sports a chef hat and some people even put on full costume. If you aren't wearing a chef hat then you are probably wearing a soldier costume. These outfits came from the history of San Sebastian during the Napoleonic wars when the French occupied the city. It is said that Basque tradesmen, including a lot of chefs, would make fun of the French soldiers by mocking thier processions with thier own procession to the water pump every day. Basically they just made fun of the French every single day and now there is a huge festival doing just that hahaha. Later this became a much louder event when Vicente Buenechea dontated barrels that were used as drums. This is also where the name Tamborrada comes from - it means drumroll.

Now, starting at midnight on January 19th, drums are being hit all 24 hours until the end of January 20th. The processions started in the Plaza, where we were, with a huge procession and performance on stage of the chefs and soldiers. The chefs always wear white and blue - the colors of San Sebastian. The soldiers wear the traditional costume of a French soldier at that time. From the Plaza a huge 24-hour parade starts and the parade winds around the Parte Vieja. The drums run all night and in the morning of the next day they have special parades in each neighborhood that include kids. Basically it is hours and hours of drums, which makes for difficult sleeping.

The night of the 19th is one of the biggest parties of the year for San Sebastian. I stayed out with my friends until 6:30am! From seeing all of my friends and meeting new ones, wearing a chef hat, almost getting my purse snatched by a crazy girl at the disco and singing spanish song iwth my new roommates, I would say I had a blast! When I got up, after only 3 hours of sleep the next day, I was a bit tired. After 3 coffees I headed to work, because sadly San Sebastian day isn't celebrated in Hondarribia haha obviously. I didn't last the entire Tamborrada because instead of partying the night of the 20th, I was asleep by 10pm.zzzzzzzz. Happy San Sebastian Day!

Hope your week is going GREAT!


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