A showcase for Hendaye’s activities, the Fête Basque is the must-attend event of a summer on the Basque Coast, held every year on the 2nd weekend of August.

Dates: August 9 – 10 – 11, 2024

Float during the Hendaye Basque Festival cavalcade - Hendaye Tourisme

In Hendaye, the Fête Basque was born thanks to the initiative of mayor Léon Lannepouquet and his Comité des Fêtes. Originally, it was called the “Grande Kermesse Basque”. The date chosen was Sunday August 31, 1930.

A twofold objective was set:

  • To entertain and interest the audience.
  • To demonstrate that the legendary customs of the Basque Country were alive and well, and that they would be an attraction for visitors.

3 days of festivities kick off in the streets of the city center, with many associations offering meals and entertainment: this is Hiri Besta.

Since 2004, a number of associations and the Comité des Fêtes (Festival Committee / The City) have been working together to develop 2 additional days of festivities around the Fête Basque, with a wide range of activities: Hiri-Besta (the festival in the town center) was born.
Blue and white are the colors of these 2 days.

Then on Sunday, it’s time for the cavalcade, a parade of floats that winds its way through the town, closely followed by the bandas, ending at the Ondarraitz stadium. The day is punctuated by a fireworks display.

La Fête Basque: THE festive event of the year

Historically, this festival was not confined to Basque dancing, as in the other provinces of the Northern Basque Country. Under the aegis of the Comité des Fêtes, the most aware Hendayans designed floats representing various scenes from the life of the Basque people.

To ensure the authenticity of the festival, the Mayor invited young people to take part in the event in traditional dress:

  • For men: Chamara (blouse), “milrayas” pants, checked scarf, abarkas (sandals)…
  • For women: Lepokoa (small shawl), blouse and bolero, apron with petticoat, espadrilles…

The cavalcade is opened by the Mayor and the parish priest, seated in their carriage. The dozen or so floats parade from the “Gare” district to the “Plage” district, to the sound of bandas and txarangas, the brass bands that play traditional Basque tunes. Basque dance groups also join the procession.
Usually, the cider-making float with the kupela (barrel) completes the procession.

The cavalcade ends its run at the Ondarraitz stadium, where all Hendayans from near and far gather. The curtain falls on this long weekend of festivities with the fireworks and ball.