Monday, 28 June 2010

Fete de St Jean de Luz

This weekend St Jean de Luz enjoyed its wonderful annual festival. The normally brightly coloured town turns black and red for four days as people, houses and shops adorn the traditional Basque colours. Starting on Friday hundreds of children parade through the streets playing drums en route to see the mayor who officially welcomes them and proclaims the festival open. The music continues in many guises for four days. The streets are permanently filled with people enjoying themselves, moving from one group of friends to another, filling one anothers glasses with wine, cider and sangria (though not at the same time).

A myriad of events take place to ensure there are no dull moments: bull running, concerts, beach volleyball (a personal favourite), dancing, fireworks, boat racing. Everything is built around the traditions embedded within the culture and folklore of St Jean de Luz. For four days the sound of laughter fills the air and all is even more fantastical in St Jean de Luz. The weather favoured us with a radiant weekend ensuring that even more liquids were consumed than normal.

There is no doubting the festival is madness. It is a whirlwhind of a weekend with little sleep and a lot of socialising. Marking progress I was amazed at how many people I knew as I walked amongst friends over the weekend. Last year's festival was excellent but I had been an outsider. This year I most definitely felt a part of it.

The festival marks the end of the quieter period. It is the last chance before summer for all locals to enjoy themselves as a group. From next week until the start of September the main tourist season is upon us. St Jean de Luz remains wonderful, as does its ambience, but it has a different more party like feel. From next week onwards most people will be here with the sole purpose of enjoying themselves (god forbid) and the locals will largely be working hard to ensure that everybody does just that. They never fail.

Basque of the day:- party :: besta