The San Sebastian Carnival

The carnival is already starting to be announced in San Sebastián

Let’s give a big welcome to Momus, the star of the San Sebastian Carnival, surrounded by creative floats that will be travelling around the city of San Sebastian to the rhythm of charanga band music and merriness.

Carnival is coming to San Sebastian!

Carnival begins to be announced in Donostia / San Sebastián from the very day of the city on January 20th with the march of Donostia / San Sebastián: Donostiarrei oihu egitera gatoz, pozaldiz! Inauteriak datoz! (we come to call the Donostiarras, with joy! Carnival is coming!). But there is another milestone in the city, before the arrival of the carnival itself: the weekend of caldereros and iñudeak eta artzainak (nannies and shepherds).

carnavales sansebastian donostia

Parades around the city

Local kids and adults alike take part in various parades around the city, filling them with dancing and fun throughout the weekend. The costumes, some more original than others and some slightly more off the cuff, will flood the city with colour. 

donostia txuntxurros

The origins

The first references to the San Sebastian Carnival are from 1814, when a group of students, friends and craft guilds created this festival. In 1924, this celebration was restricted to private parties, due to the decree that banned gambling and, along with it, tolerance of carnival celebrations on the streets. It wasn’t until 1978 when the Visitor and Tourist Centre started to bring back the tradition, together with gastronomic societies and event organisers.

carnval donostia inauteriak

The Burial of the Sardine

This big celebration will end with the ‘burial of the sardine’, when a funeral procession will weep over the last few moments of the sardine’s peaceful existence. It will take place in the centre of San Sebastian (Plaza Bilbao, Calle Getaria, Txurruka, Plaza de Gipuzkoa, Elkano, Boulevard and Alderdi Eder) and will be enlivened by txaranga bands.

carnaval entierro sardina san sebastian