The San Juan celebrations are one amongst many traditions celebrated in the Basque Country. Numerous cities and villages through the Basque Country have San Juan as their Patron Saint and week-long festivities mixing religious and pagan traditions are organized in many places. We experienced the San Juan celebrations in the town of Tolosa. Étienne decided to wear the Euskaldunak Québec Association t-shirt, with its logo uniting the Basque and Québécois flags, since the San Juan (“Saint-Jean” in French) is also a national celebration in Québec.

Tolosa is a very nice town with its small streets, coffee shops and nice plazas. The town hosts a very popular market every Saturday. During the San Juan celebrations, we attended impressive processions with giant puppets which really had an impact on our son Henri. On the 24th of June, a procession showcasing various local gastronomic associations unfolded with all participants dressed in their colourful military-like uniforms. The night before, crowds of young people celebrated around a large fire and many were reckless enough to jump over it. Another great basque festival that we celebrated as a family, as always.

Learn more in the film THE BASQUE COUNTRY: A NATION WITHOUT BORDERS.