Wave of festive suspensions in the Basque Country due to the escalation of COVID-19

The rise in the incidence of COVID-19 led the Basque Government last week to announce new guidelines to reinforce the protocols in force. Among the “complementary measures”, the Minister of Health, Gotzone Sagardui, recommended that in localities with an incidence greater than 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants – a barrier that now marks the high transmission of the virus – the planned events be suspended or postponed. for the next few weeks. After the suspension of the Tolosa bean competitions, many municipalities and event organizing platforms have taken the same steps. This is the case of the San Andrés festivities in Eibar, those of Santa Catalina in Mundaka or the Ardoaraba gastronomic event in Vitoria. Durangoko Azoka has also announced that it will adapt to sanitary measures and the Agurain Beldur Barik meeting has been canceled.

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This Thursday, November 25, Mundaka would experience a “festive day of great tradition” with the celebration of Santa Catalina, which, in addition, would continue throughout the weekend “with the famous cod contest”. However, the City Council of the town has decided to suspend the festive events to “prioritize health and stop the advance” of COVID-19. According to data provided by Osakidetza this Monday, Mundaka is in the red with an incidence of 217 cases per 100,000 inhabitants at 14 days. For this reason, the mayor of the town, Irati Gondra, has asked citizens to act with “maximum responsibility.”

Also, this Friday the Beldur Barik meeting was going to take place in Agurain, organized by Emakunde on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. However, the organization announced this Wednesday that the meeting is suspended, so the planned workshops and concentration will not take place. Even so, the awards ceremony does go ahead and can be followed by ‘streaming’ through the Beldur Barik website.

Also this weekend, Eibar would celebrate the San Andrés festivities. However, this Tuesday the mayor, Jon Iraola, reported the decision taken by the City Council to suspend “all the events scheduled for the next days 27, 28, 29 and 30 November, San Andrés Day”, due to the high incidence of the virus, which this Monday quadrupled the barrier of 150 cases of incidence to apply additional restrictions. Among the planned activities were brass bands, musical performances in the streets of the city and the San Andrés Day fair. “The administrations must be exemplary, acting in accordance with what the health situation forces us to do,” explained Iraola. For this reason, the only event that continues is the twenty-seventh edition of the San Andrés de Bertsolaris Festival that will take place at the Coliseum this Thursday, since “strict compliance with sanitary measures can be guaranteed.”

In turn, Gasteiz On, Vitoria’s urban commerce platform, has canceled the ‘Ardoaraba’ food and wine event, scheduled for early December. Ardoaraba is, according to the organizers, “the perfect excuse to enjoy around a glass of wine from Rioja Alavesa and Txakoli from Álava, supporting both local hospitality and urban commerce”. However, the association has regretted in a statement that “the current situation of uncertainty” has led them to make the decision not to celebrate it despite the “illusion” that there was to celebrate again “the most important food and wine fair on the cornice. Cantabrian “and its” advanced “state of organization.


On the other hand, the Durangoko Azoka will be held this year in person. It will, yes, adapting to the sanitary measures established to “guarantee the safety of visitors and participants”, as indicated by the Gerediaga association and the Durango City Council. In this way, to access Landako Gunea —the main venue that houses the fair— and Plateruena —a site where ‘Ahotsenea’ concerts are held—, it will be essential to make an appointment. Thus, in Landako Gunea there will be shifts of 1,200 people to visit the fair for a maximum time of an hour and a half. In total, the Durangoko Azoka of 2021 will have 219 seats and 50 concerts from December 4 to 8.

The Consistory of Barakaldo has decided to hold an event to advance New Year’s Eve, although it clarifies that its celebration is subject to the health situation of the “moment in which it is scheduled to take place.” These are the “magic bells” that will take place on December 10 at the Herriko Plaza. Thus, the square “will become a great party for Barakaldean families, and the 12 grapes will be transformed into 12 jelly beans.” “With this initiative we seek to recover and promote purchases in local businesses, make it known and spread the illusion of New Year’s Eve among the most ‘txikis’ with a party in which the whole family can enjoy”, said the mayor, Amaia of the Field.

Zumarraga, Donostia, Bilbao and Vitoria, yet to be decided

In Zumarraga, the mayor, Mikel Serrano, has not yet announced if the Santa Lucia fair scheduled for December 13 will finally be held. Speaking to ETB1, Serrano pointed out that the fair has been organized in such a way that “all security measures are guaranteed.” In addition, the number of positions has been reduced by around 50%. However, he is against the fact that the responsibility of deciding what to do with the fairs falls on the City Councils. “Would it be the mayor’s responsibility if there were a source of contagion for not suspending the Santa Lucia fair?” This Monday, Zumarraga had a rate of 1,191 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Nor have the City Councils of Donostia and Bilbao decided whether to celebrate Santo Tomás. The mayor of the Gipuzkoan capital, Eneko Goia, announced on October 7, after the end of the health emergency that it was time to “regain the lost normality”, so he assured that the city’s winter festivals would be held without controls capacity. However, in the face of this situation of rising infections, he points out that “it only remains to have the ability to adapt.” In the case of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto has asked citizens for “calm” about the festive events in December, because opting for one position or another now would be “rushing”. In Vitoria, Gorka Urtaran admitted that the programming of Christmas activities must be “rethought”. This Wednesday, before the microphones of Radio Vitoria, Urtaran has focused on adapting the events in which it is necessary to remove the mask. Thus, he has indicated that at the Christmas fair you can “buy a cabbage but not taste a thallus.”

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