Santo Tomas is a very important fiesta here in the Basque Country. Celebrated on December 21st this is the day all Basque people look forward to all year to eat txistorra (a chorizo like sausage) and drink apple sidra (alcoholic, of course!). Each small town in Euskadi has their own festival celebrated normally in the afternoon but in Donostia and Bilbao the party starts early and ends very late!
Santo Tomas officially kicks off the holiday season here in Euskadi with Christmas only a few days later and the partying not stopping until January 6th! Everyone gets two weeks of vacation during Christmas and this year the vacation just happened to start on Santo Tomas! What better reason to celebrate!
The festival dates back to the 19th century and started when farmers would come down from their mountain farms to the cities to pay their yearly taxes and buy products that the couldn’t grow or acquire throughout the year living on a farm. It’s a day to celebrate farmers and the old way of life when most people lived in caserios (farm houses). Most people (and all the children!) dress up in traditional farmer clothing.
This year the hubby and I had a tranquilo celebration as he had to go to work tonight and I have class first thing in the morning but of course we enjoyed a bottle of sidra and some txistorra and bought some homemade sweets to enjoy tomorrow!