On the last Monday in October, more than 100,000 visitors from the surrounding area and towns in northern Spain arrive in Guernica to attend a festival where nearly 300 local producers sell their wares.
For as long as anyone can remember, Monday has been the day when peasants (baserritarras) from the comarca of Busturialdea and other parts of Biscay travel to Guernica to sell their products. The Monday market has hardly changed over time, except for the advances in transportation. The festival was described by the first Lehendakari (president of the Basque government), José Antonio de Aguirre y Lecube, in his book From Guernica to New York, Passing Through Berlin:
“Every Monday of the year Guernica held its famous festival, picturesque gatherings of villagers, with an age-old essence that exemplifies the civility and joy of Basque celebrations. All the products from the gardens and home businesses near Guernica were exhibited in the plaza and, while transactions were carried out with commercial seriousness, the mules and oxen that had transported the products passed the time under the lime trees, awaiting the return of their owners. Once the important part of the day—the business part—was over, the crowds poured into the restaurants which bring Guernica gastronomic renown to satisfy one of the principal commandments of Basque life: eating and drinking well, with calm, excess, and animated conversation. And in a euphoric state that is the direct consequence of the culinary ritual, the people spill over into the fronton where the famous pelota games take place, or they head to the plaza to dance along to the sounds of the txistu and the tabor. When the church bells rang out the toque de ánimas, the visitors began their procession back home and Guernica regained the calm of an old, traditional city.”