Tamborrada

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Tamborrada, kids section

Tamborrada of Donostia (in basque Donostiako Danborrada) occurs every year on January 20th (the feast of Saint Sebastian). The people of the city of San Sebastián, Spain, celebrate a festival known as the "Tamborrada". At midnight, in the Konstituzio Plaza in the "Alde Zaharra/Parte Vieja" (Old Town), the mayor raises the flag of San Sebastián. For 24 hours, day and night, the entire city is filled with the sound of drums. The adults, dressed as cooks and soldiers, march in different companies across various parts of the city with different schedules. The celebration finishes at midnight when the city flag is lowered at various locations, while the main meeting point remains the Konstituzio Plaza.

Origin and development[edit]

From the era between the end of 18th century to the 2nd Carlist War, as a walled military stronghold, the city was a subject of several military actions, sieges and damage, sometimes with dire consequences (especially in 1813), in which international powers (Spain, France, Great Britain, and Portugal) were involved. The origin of this custom is said to be that locals mocked the marching soldiers stationed in the city by aping their daily procession from the San Telmo headquarters to the Main Gate at the city walls ("Puerta de Tierra"), using for the purpose buckets and hardware from the water-pump. The comic procession in carnival mood may have developed into a youth music group - the Carnival of Donostia started at this point on the 20th of January, followed by the Caldereros at the beginning of February.[1]

The group also heralded at dawn the ox-running event held that day. At this stage the members of the group dressed as they fancied, and had not yet adopted uniforms.[2] The procession further developed when local tradesman Vicente "Txiki" Buenechea donated barrels to be used as drums. Furthermore, in 1881, unused military outfits were discovered in the San Telmo headquarters, with the gear being donated to the council, which in turn gave it away to the Union Artesana club so they could be used in the Tamborrada. Other sociedades gastronómicas ("gourmet clubs") joined the Union Artesana in following years, causing the initially peculiar celebration to spread.[3]

A legendary tale states that in 1720, a baker was getting water from a fountain during a drought. He began to sing, and a group of local girls behind him started pounding on their water basins to accompany him. To his glee, the water kept on flowing. Happy, they kept on drumming. Soon a crowd gathered. According to the legend, for 330 years there has never been a drought, and the music has not stopped.

Music[edit]

In 1861, local musician Raimundo Sarriegui composed and released all the iconic marches, like the "March of San Sebastian",[4] which caught on and became popular. Other marches of his creation include "Erretreta", "Tatiago", "Diana" and "Iriyarena". Other tunes have been added nowadays. The traditional lyrics sung along in the marches were fashioned by the local writer Serafin Baroja.

Current celebration[edit]

Adults usually have dinner in sociedades gastronómicas ("gourmet clubs"), which provide elements of the procession, and which traditionally admitted only males. Nowadays, even the strictest ones allow women on the "Noche de la Tamborrada". They eat sophisticated meals cooked by themselves, mostly composed of seafood (traditionally elver, now no longer served due to its exorbitant price) and drink the best wines.

After the dinner or the lunch, depending on the time the company is marching, the parade-goers take to the streets and are sometimes offered drinks at the pause between the tunes. Nowadays the Tamborrada is made up of mixed sex companies for the most part, while proportions may vary a lot from one to the other. For "Donostiarras" this is the most celebrated festival of the year. These drummer groups often have marching bands playing along with them.

After hearing drums all night, children wake up with a version of the Tamborrada for children. Children dress traditionally as soldiers from Napoleonic times and march around the city. Children from all the schools of San Sebastián march that day. They have their specific costumes which usually represent a particular country (such as England, Germany, or Romania). More recently, the parade has been pushed back to days before the festival proper, thus this Children's Tamborrada is the first activity of the festival. 2013 marks the 52nd anniversary of establishment of the Children's Tamborrada, being launched in 1961 to promote the cultural legacy of the festival to the younger generations. A repeat performance is held on noon of the festival day itself. 50 contingents from schools in the city join the celebrations beating their snare drums while honoring the heroes of the defense of the city and its patron.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sada, Javier; Sada, Asier (1995). Historia de San Sebastián. San Sebastian: Editorial Txertoa. p. 107. ISBN 84-7148 Check |isbn= value (help).  Book in Spanish
  2. ^ Sada, Javier; Sada, Asier (1995). Historia de San Sebastián. San Sebastian: Editorial Txertoa. p. 107. ISBN 84-7148 Check |isbn= value (help).  Book in Spanish
  3. ^ Sada, Javier; Sada, Asier (1995). Historia de San Sebastián. San Sebastian: Editorial Txertoa. p. 110. ISBN 84-7148 Check |isbn= value (help).  Book in Spanish
  4. ^ Sada, Javier; Sada, Asier (1995). Historia de San Sebastián. San Sebastian: Editorial Txertoa. p. 110. ISBN 84-7148 Check |isbn= value (help).  Book in Spanish

External links[edit]

  • Joobili.com - Related info and photos on La Tamborrada