28 Aug Festivities of San Ignacio of Gorbeia – 31st july (Zeanuri, Basque country)
As every year, last July the celebrations of San Ignacio took place along with the traditional ascent to the hermitage of Edurretako Ama, on Mount Gorbeia.
This traditional festival, held every July 31st (St. Ignatius Day and local holiday in Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa) brings together hundreds of people who walk up to the hermitage on one of the most anticipated days by all the inhabitants of the area.
It is the day that more visitors receive the top of Mount Gorbeia and even a free bus is offered by the delegation of Bizkaia from the town of Areatza, to avoid possible agglomerations.
This ascension is celebrated every year on Saint Ignatius Day
It is a very important ritual for mountaineers as well as for hundreds of Alava, Biscay, Bilbao and Vitorians, who come from different places to ascend to the top of Mount Gorbeia on this day.
San Ignacio is a saint closely related to mountaineering, alpinism … activities that began to develop in the area during the early years of the 20th century.
The construction of the cross of Gorbeia dates from that time
This hermitage turned out to be a weekend escape route for many Bilbao families, who used to go there for fresh air and rest.
The chapel of “Nuestra Señora de las Nieves” is a small cement building embedded in a rocky slope, with a metal fence that serves as a door.
Being located inside the hillside and between the rocks, makes this hermitage quite unique.
Saint Ignatius Day celebrates Mass in his honor, which welcomes hundreds of people who come to the slopes of the Gorbeia to attend a very special open-air mass.
In a magical place and at 1120 meters of altitude, the highest mass of Bizkaia is celebrated at noon.
A tradition that comes from far
Until a few years ago, these masses were celebrated every Sunday in honor of the deceased shepherds who worked or lived in the area.
Currently, it is only celebrated once a year, the day of San Ignacio and as it is tradition, tribute is paid to all those deceased (beggars and shepherds) who develop their activity in the surroundings of the area, still very busy by farmers and shepherds.
A celebration that combines tradition and festivity
One of the most anticipated celebrations for all the inhabitants of the area that has already become a quite a party where mountaineers, shepherds and entire families come together every year who want to enjoy a festive and special day.
At the end of the ascent to Mount Gorbeia and after the traditional hymn to the patron saint, the city hall of Zeanuri offers all attendees a typical revitalizing lunch (barrauskari) based on white wine and cookies.
In addition, many families who come to the area carry food that they will share with pleasure with all those pilgrims who come up that day to celebrate this commemorative holiday.
The day of San Ignacio along with the climb to Mount Gorbeia is already considered a tradition for the inhabitants of the entire region.
Usually the youngests use to climb to the hermitage in the previous days, in which it is allowed to spend the night until July 31, the only time of the year in which camping is allowed in the area.
”Personally and having grown up in Ellauri, I have many good memories coming up with my family (father, mother and brothers) to Mount Gorbeia on St. Ignatius’ day”.
A very special day for mountain fans and quite a tradition where shepherds, ranchers and local people meet again to celebrate together a custom transmitted from generation to generation.
We wait for you next year at Ellauri hotel
Every July 31 we live a very special day at Mount Gorbeia.
A holiday in which you will have the opportunity to live a very enriching experience, discovering native traditions and experiencing sensations that go beyond a simple holiday.
Come with us to enjoy the next holidays of San Ignacio We will wait for you!