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The Feast of Saint Sebastian observed annually on the 20th of January, commemorates the life of the Christian martyr bearing the same name. This sacred occasion pays homage to his legacy and sacrifice.

San Sebastián honours its patron saint's day with the loud and vibrant Tamborrada drum parade. Festivities commence at midnight on the 19th in the iconic Plaza de la Constitución, coinciding with the ceremonial raising of the city flag.

Over 147 groups with drums, brass bands, flag-bearers and water carriers, bring the streets to life with enchanting melodies and captivating dances.

The Feast of Saint Sebastian 1

The Feast of Saint Sebastian

As the clock strikes midnight on the 20th, the Unión Artesana Tamborrada solemnly lowers the flag, marking the end of the festivities until the following year. This poignant moment often evokes heartfelt emotion among the locals.

Who actually was Saint Sebastian

A Roman soldier of the 3rd century, underwent a profound conversion to Christianity. Renowned for his unwavering devotion to his faith, he clandestinely preached to the soldiers of the Roman Empire.

Ultimately, he faced capture, being impaled, and left for dead due to his unwavering commitment to his faith. Nevertheless, a devout woman came to his rescue, enabling him to persist in his preaching until he was once more apprehended and met his untimely demise.

Saint Sebastian embodies the virtues of unwavering faith and courage, even in the face of mortality. He is revered as a symbol of resilience and protection against afflictions, making him a patron saint for soldiers.

What is the origin of the celebration?

Originating in 5th century Italy, this festival gradually spread its influence to every corner of the globe, becoming a cherished celebration among Christian communities worldwide.

The St. Sebastian's feast takes on various forms across the globe, with religious processions often playing a central role. It is customary to bring offerings and gifts to the church as a tribute to the revered St. Sebastian.

The Feast of Saint Sebastian 2

Why the grand religious processions?

The processions offer a unique opportunity for the faithful to join together, gracefully parading with a beautifully adorned image of the revered saint, gently resting on a meticulously crafted stretcher. 

As the procession advances, flickering candles illuminate the path, and melodious hymns fill the air, paying homage to the esteemed St. Sebastian.

How believers respond to the San Sebastián Feast

Devoted individuals frequently present offerings at the church in reverence to Saint Sebastian. These offerings may include flowers, candles, and food. Additionally, some believers express their gratitude to the saint by offering gifts like medals or pictures.

Saint Sebastian holds great significance for believers as a protector against diseases, particularly contagious ones. Devotees commonly seek his intercession for protection and healing.

Finally, celebrating the feast of St. Sebastian holds great significance for believers. It serves as a poignant reminder of this saint's unwavering faith, perseverance, and courage. Moreover, it offers an opportunity to seek his intercession and protection against afflictions.

Food and Drink Tours in San Sebastian in 2024

Visiting San Sebastián for the renowned Saint Sebastian Feast in January 2024? Our exceptional team is here to cater to your needs! Reach out to us via live chat or email at [email protected] and arrange some incredible food and drink tours or a visit to an award-winning restaurant. Learn more about what food to eat in San Sebastian with our blog from yesterday available to read here.

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