On September the 8th, the Virgin of Guadalupe Day, the traditional "Alarde" is held in the coastal town of Hondarribia. The alarde is a military procession that is held every year to celebrate the vows made to the Virgin of Guadalupe in 1639 in gratitude for breaking the siege imposed on the town by French troops. But the vow is not something limited only to the procession, the whole occasions starts with a dance to the Virgin of Guadalupe and comes to its high point on the 10th with mass held in memory of all those who died during the siege. These days are very special and heartfelt for the people of Hondarribia.
The traditional military procession held in Hondarribia every 8th September commemorates the end of two months of siege at the hands of the French and obeys the vow made to the Virgin of Guadalupe to whom victory is attributed.
At half past eight, the different regiments each representing one of the town’s neighbourhoods come together by the town walls next to the Queen’s fortress. At 9 o’clock, as the parish church bells chime and to the rhythm of the joyful music played by the band, the march-past begins. The torch-bearers, who wear impressive, large sheepskin morions on their heads lead the procession. Following them, one by one the remaining troops with drums, tin whistles and hundreds of gunners who shoot volleys into the air during the march, go down in to the Plaza de las Armas (weapons’ square) where they amass with all the rest of the troops. Thousands of people crowd along the main street to watch the procession and savour the festive atmosphere that lasts all day.