Local celebrations in Oñati are deeply-rooted in the traditional culture. The main events are those related to the religious and agrarian calendars: Christmas/Olentzero, Carnivals, Corpus Christi Day and Saint Michael's / Our Lady of the Rosary's Day. The first two are organised according to fairly conventional models, while the last two contain more original and peculiar aspects.

Corpus Christi day - A medieval celebration

jaiak01.JPGThe Corpus Christi day was originally a modest celebration dating from the Middle Ages that became one of the most important parts of the catholic liturgy. The procession in Oñati consisted of floating figures, farces played on carts, musicians, dancers, brotherhoods, guilds and civil and religious authorities, all sprinkled with a lively baroque sense of choreography.

Apart from the religious features, the celebration is also based on another three elements: firstly, the Brotherhood of the Holy Sacrament, with all the brothers parading after their standard, holding oil lamps and wearing grey-brown cloaks; secondly, the embodiment of Christ, the Apostles and Saint Michael, with their wigs, masks and insignias (the patron saint of Oñati, Saint Michael Archangel being especially majestic and military); and finally, the dancers that surround the entire procession as a symbol of respect and joy, both characteristic features of this celebration. On Corpus Christi day, the Kontrapas, Makildantza and Arkudantza are guaranteed to please, delight and fascinate anyone interested in local customs and traditions.

San Michael's Day

Saint Michael's Day and our Lady of the Rosary's Day, together with their respective bixamonak are the scene for a large number of cultural and leisure events: concerts, drum concerts, brass bands and conferences, etc. However, two of these events are an absolute must: the Herri Eguna and the International Sheepdog Trials.

The Herri Eguna or National Day is a tribute to the local agricultural tradition, with vegetable, fruit, cattle and cheese contests, craftwork exhibitions, Basque songs, Basque dances, popular street dances and much, much more, all accompanied by traditional spicy sausages, cider and consommé.

The International Sheepdog Trials

The International Sheepdog Trials offer the best chance to see magnificent displays of skill as the dogs chase their flocks into the fold. It is curious that the highpoint of these celebrations, the bixamonak (or days after), originally thought of as days for relaxation and recovery after the excesses of the previous days, are now the busiest times of the festivities.

Gipuzkoa, Euskadi

Calendar of local celebrations

  • Carnivals


  • Corpus Christi Day : 29 of May


  • Our Lady of the Rosary's Day: 9 of September
  • Haurren eguna:  of September
  • Fiestas patronales de Oñati: 29 of September
  • International Sheepdog Trials : 25 of September 


  • "Herri Eguna" (animals and local products):1  of October