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Basque Country Traditions

Holy Week

During Easter week, the Basque Country holds important religious celebrations every year. From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday major cities will host traditional religious parades and solemn marches that travel from religious monuments to the important churches. One of the most well known marches is held in Balmaseda, a town that lies in between Vizcaya and Alava, about 20 minutes from Bilbao.

Since 1770 Balmaseda has celebrated their traditional Holy Week parade symbolizing the passion of Christ. Over 800 locals participate each year to prepare the festival, rehearsing and preparing for the event over the course of the year.

It all starts on Holy Thursday, the parade begins in the old part of town at seven in the evening, the following day, which is Good Friday the Balmaseda parade performs reenactments that tell the story of Holy Week including: Pontius Pilot, the way of the cross and the crucifixion.

The duration of the parade is approximately three and a half hours and is free for the public. Other cities that celebrate parades include Bilbao, Azkotia, Hondaribbia, Vitoria and Laguardia.

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