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Fiestas & traditions
Donostia - San Sebastian
Prelude to the Carnival
Being part of the prelude to the Carnival in San Sebastian, the Tinkers' Parade takes place the first Saturday of February. The nursemaids and Shepherds' Parade takes place the day after the Tinkers' parade.
The Tinkers' parade and the Nursemaids' and Shepherds' Parade form part of the prelude to the Carnival in San Sebastian.
Being part of the prelude to the Carnival in San Sebastian, the Tinkers' Parade takes place the first Saturday of February. This parade stages the arrival in town of the Hungarian tinkers, who announce the upcoming Carnival. A bear leads the Parade, which is one of the characteristic animals in the Basque carnival mythology.
The Tinkers' Parade is made up of different tribes which represent the various clubs taking part in it. One of the most characteristic features of this parade is the peculiar sound emitted by the tinkers as they beat their hammers against the pots which form part of their outfit. The show also includes canticles and dances performed by gypsy women. The queen, who is actually a man, offers the comic talent of this celebration. Beautiful floats decorated with brilliantly coloured lamps bring up the rear of the parade.
Nursemaids' and Shepherds' Parade
The nursemaids and Shepherds' Parade takes place the day after the Tinkers' parade, that is, the first Sunday after the Tinkers' Parade.
Together with the Tinkers' Parade, it forms part of the prelude to the carnival. This parade stages the period when shepherds used to come to town to court nursemaids and it is made up by dancers, drum players and dressed up people, being Kresala the society in charge of its staging since 1973.
The most awaited moment by those attending the parade is when the nursemaids "launch their babies to the sky." Works by such Basque composers as Sarriegui are performed.
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