I was in for a pleasant surprise this morning when our neighbour bought some lovely pastry for us. She said rather excitedly “It’s the festival of San Blas today!.. We go to the church in the morning, distribute pastries and traditional sweets. Later, people will gather at the Town Plaza and there will be people performing and entertaining on the streets.. Oh and there will also be fireworks!”
Gosh, it sounds so good I thought. Though, seeing San Blas written on every pastry and delicacy store on my way to town yesterday should have been a hint. Hmm 🙄
Sadly, as I didn’t know much about this festival and I was very keen to learn, I thought I’d do a bit of research on the net (thank goodness for technology.. Phew!) and managed to come up with the information below;
On Februray 3rd, the traditional procession of Sab Blas is held in Bilbao, in honour of the Christian martyr who is attributed with the miraculous healing of throat ailments.
In the Plaza, stalls are set up where you can buy the traditional sweets and coloured cords of San Blas. The inhabitants of Bilbao bless the cord before the image of the Saint in the church of San Nicolas, which stands in the same square. Afterwards, according to tradition, the faithful wear the cord around their neck for nine days, after which it must be burnt. If the process is carried out correctly, San Blas will protect the throat of the wearer for the whole year.
As well as the cords, people also distribute bread rolls which have been blessed inside the church, to keep throat infections at bay.
Spain is full of various festivals and celebration, you get to learn something new everyday. It must be the only country I know where there is a festival for everything! The festivals are characterised by parades in the street, dancers, fireworks and church bells. This country is just so colourful and I am loving being part of it.
On the side note, the pastry was simply mouth watering. I need to get my hands on the recipe!
Till next time Adios!