A big splash for Basque culture

Hundreds of revellers made a big splash with handmade rafts in the Basque city of San Sebastian, Spain, during the "Abordaje" (boarding) eventlast Saturday.

The Abordaje is an alternative event celebrated during the "Semana Grande" or Big Week festival, a week-long celebration of Basque culture in northern Spain.

Compared with many deeply rooted festivals in Spain, Semana Grande's history in San Sebastian is relatively short - it began in the mid-20th century. But it has picked up speed and given rise to many traditions.

Semana Grande usually begins with men in berets and knee-high socks firing a cannon across Playa de la Concha, San Sebastian's curving beach, and progresses the following day with the invasion of " pirates": Around 4,000 people wearing eyepatches and false beards sailing into the harbour on a flotilla of homemade rafts, according to the Daily Mail.

The Big Week also features markets, competitions, parties and concerts, making it a high point of summer in Spain.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2017, with the headline 'A big splash for Basque culture'. Print Edition | Subscribe