Festival Season in La Rioja

by Sojourner
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Spain does love their festivals! If I’ve learned nothing else from this country, I know that the Spaniards find any excuse to celebrate. This time, it was a historical one with June 9th being La Rioja Day and June 11th being San Bernabé. It’s funny because my Fulbright Year began with a Spanish festival called San Mateo and ended with San Bernabé. Though a bittersweet reminder that my time in Logroño was coming to an end, fittingly my last full weekend was full of Spanish music, wine, fiestas and friends.

What is San Bernabé?

San Bernabé is a holiday that celebrates the French being pushed out by the Logroñeses in the 1800s. From what I was told by co-workers, the French blocked the Spaniards in Logroño and they were cut off from their food supply. However, there were tunnels under the city that led to the Ebro River where Logroñeses were able to catch fish and feed their people. Thus, on June 11th of every year, they give out a free fish sandwich and celebrate the whole weekend with markets, a re-enactment of the battle that ensued and lots of good food.

What do you do at San Bernabé?

I’m a sucker for summer festivals; they make me soooo excited for summer and the Spaniards agree! It was cool to see them all out and about enjoying themselves despite the heat. There were parades with people in traditional Spain costumes of the 1800s, marching, singing, and shooting guns in the air to signify the battle sounds that contributed to the Logroño victory. I wasn’t too fond of those going off randomly, but I appreciated knowing more about Spanish history up here in the north.

What kind of food is at San Bernabé?

Oh and the FOOD! Yummy! I love traveling mainly because of the food so anytime it’s there, I’m there. I had amazing couscous and falafel at the Moroccan food stand and a refreshing strawberry mojito at El Rincón de Chao.  I was also fond of the jewelry! I love buying jewelry during festivals because it’s always unique.  Weekends like these I will miss with the friends I’ve made here. But, I know we’ll all be seeing each other soon and colliding our worlds with friends from back home too.  Now if only the U.S. can be as cheap as Logroño…

Overall, San Bernabé is not a festival I would fly across the world to see. However, if you’re in the area, definitely stop by in check it out! Though I’ll miss Spain, I am more than ready to go home after my trip to southern Spain! Being here has made me realize what I want, and what I don’t, out of the next few years at least. It’s been a long year, full of ups and downs, and I’m glad I got to end it with a festival like this.

Thanks for reading! PIN this post to enjoy San Bernabé wherever!


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