Back to All Events

Semana Grande


  • 18 Kontxa Pasealekua Donostia Spain (map)

Semana Grande

Semana Grande is a weeklong festivity, which is celebrated in San Sebastian annually during the week that includes August 15th – the Assumption Day.  The entertainment program is extensive - from Basque folklore in the city squares to large concerts at specially organized venues in the port and around Zurriola beach. This week, flee and farmers markets appear throughout the city, there are gastronomic and sports competitions, as well as daily educational and entertaining events for children. There are even discotheques in the open air. It is important to follow the agenda to not miss the most interesting.

The festive week takes off with a cannon shot at Alderdi Eder Square, with the most important event being, undoubtedly, a fireworks competition. Every evening, children and adults watch a fifteen-minute show in the sky that is reflected in the sea like a magical kaleidoscope. Teams from different countries compete for the first place, trying to win the Jury and public votes.  Make sure to show up early to take a good spot on La Concha promenade to enjoy this magnificent show. After the fireworks, everyone interested can go to see the Fire Bulls - Toros de Fuego. In the dark, men run along the calle Miramar with iron bull carcass on their shoulders. The bulls spit fountains of sparks, make whistles and loud bangs, chasing kids and the crowd that stands on their way. After this show, one could continue to the bars of Parte Vieja or visit the night amusement park, which is open all week long on the Paseo Nuevo waterfront.

Another indispensable attribute of the Great Week is the march of giants and cabezudos. These characters are seen from afar and are easy to recognize. Giants are huge dolls that are several meters high. They are dressed in national Basque costumes and depict fishermen, shepherds or cooks, with the puppeteers hiding in the traditional folds of dolls' clothes. Noble giants are always accompanied by cabezudos. Their outfit is simpler: a Basque peasant dress and a big papier-mache head with a sly expression. They carry inflated sacks of pigskin that they gladly use to spank passing by people. Don’t worry, it does not hurt whatsoever and brings a lot of joy, especially to kids that often run along and pucker them.

Only during Great Week in San Sebastian you can see bullfights - a controversial, but still beloved by many Spaniards, deadly dance of a bull with a toreador.

Earlier Event: August 3
Clásica de San Sebastián
Later Event: August 29
Basque festival (Euskal Jaiak)