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Txikitero Fiesta

Every year since 1964 Bilbao celebrates the Txikitero Fiesta on October 11 in memory of Don Epi, a parish priest of Bilbao’s oldest church, the Cathedral of Santiago. Don Epi was fond of socializing with good friends over wine – today known as bar hopping this popular activity practiced all over Spain. In the Basque Country, where nothing is done lightly, they have taken this to the next level and hold a celebration in homage to Don Epi and the original, hard working Basque who would gather in their free time to share wine, stories and songs.

“Txikito” is a Basque word that means “small” it is used to refer to a short heavy glass that weighed almost half a kilo. The peculiar glass was traditionally used to drink a short pour of red wine. Groups of friends would gather to visit several of their favorite bars and drink from this iconic glass, these men were called “txikiteros”.

In the old quarter of Bilbao where three streets intersect Calle Santa Maria, Pilota and Txakur, locals gather every 11th of October to commemorate the Txikitero Fiesta which is celebrated on the same day of Begoña, a beloved patron saint of Bilbao, who is also referred to as the “amatxu” or mother of Bilbao. At 12 noon there are parades and offerings as the first wine is poured, and at 8 p.m. in the evening locals gather to sing traditional songs including, “La salve de los Txikiteros,” the traditional ballad of the txikiteros.

Learn about Semana Grande Bilbao next.