July 2nd, the feast day of Santa Isabel, is an important day in Zumarraga. A pilgrimage is held to the Chapel of La Antigua, whose highlight is the Zumarraga ezpata-dantza
. The mayor starts the proceedings and the ezpata-dantzaris
, txistularis and town councillors climb up the Chapel of la Antigua. The dantzaris take their places in two lines and interlink their large swords, the leader stands in front and holds the points of the two lines. Three azkendaris
, each carrying two small swords, stand behind the group.
Before mass, and prior to the ezpata-dantzari
group entering the church, the area fills with people. The dance group moves towards the altar and the leader begins to dance. The azkendaris
then one by one begin to dance on their knees and finish their performance with the small sword set. The ezpata-dantzaris
then go outside and go around the perimeter of the chapel. After mass, they dance the aurresku
in the church porch and then dance the ezpata-dantza
, but none of it is performed in the genuflection position this time.
At 20:00 hours, the ezpata-dantzaris
, txistularis and town councillors make their way back home. Once they reach the town hall, the dantzaris form a guard of honour for the dignitaries and dance the ezpata-dantza
for the final time.
Apart from on Santa Isabel’s Day, which is held on August 15th, the Zumarraga ezpata-dantza
is also danced during the feast day of Our Lady, even though the dance is then performed in the parish church. The aurresku
is also then danced after the ezpata-dantza