Just as we do every year a few weeks after the daily grind at Christmas and Valentine’s Day, we’ll throw off our cares and don our Carnival masks once again because Carnival celebrations are just around the corner. In just a few days’ time, we’ll stop being our usually boring selves, dress up as someone else and enjoy every moment, even if it’s only for a few hours. Bilbao, San Sebastian and Haro (La Rioja) are rated as the capital cities of the most pagan and fun celebration on the calendar. So, why don’t you make the most of these dates to visit the region and witness the contagious, colourful celebrations for yourself?
The Bilbao Carnival is the one that lasts the longest, of course! In case you didn’t know it, everything we people from Bilbao do has the reputation of being “the biggest”, “the longest”, “the best”, etc...! On the 24th February, a competition will be held in the Plaza Nueva to choose the people who are going to play the roles of two of the most popular Carnival characters named Farolín and Zarambolas. People from Bilbao have always had a great reputation for enjoying good food and wine. In Secret Bilbao, we really can’t make our minds up about one or the other candidate, however, when it comes to eating and drinking well, …. our Pintxo Tour just speaks for itself!
In San Sebastian, after the visit at the beginning of the month by groups of tinkers, wet nurses and shepherds (iñudeak eta artzaiak), god Momo returns from the 23rd to the 27th of February to embody frivolity, sarcasm, mockery and irony better than anyone else. More than 200 years of Carnival celebrations make San Sebastian a great place in which to start letting your hair down.
In Haro, the wine capital of the world-famous La Rioja Alta wine-growing region, Carnival is held from the 25th to the 26th of February. The main event is a costume parade through the entire town. Furthermore, the Wine Carnival is celebrated on the 24th and 25th of February: a great masked ball reminiscent of the Carnival of Venice during which the participating wineries officially present their new wines in public. This year, the main set theme will be the different trades that existed back in the Middle Ages.
As you can see, February is a great time for visiting and getting to know the inhabitants of Bilbao, San Sebastian and Haro so much better as they relax and enjoy themselves at Carnival time. It’s also a great excuse for escaping your daily routine and joining them as they relish the region’s extraordinary cuisine and fine wines.
So, please give three cheers for a different kind of Carnival at the hands of Secret Bilbao!!