Immerse Yourself in the Feast of the Martyrs in Santander: A Blend of Tradition and Fun

Cartel de Fiestas de Los Santos Mártires - Agosto 2023

From August 25th to 30th, Santander becomes the epicenter of fun and culture as it celebrates its patrons, Saint Emeterio and Saint Celedonio. The program of activities prepared for this occasion promises to captivate both citizens and visitors, transforming the city into a vibrant stage of joy and entertainment.

This year’s program stands out for its focus on talented local artists and groups, who will showcase their artistry and energy in performances that will enliven both El Sardinero and the city center. The festivities will take place in various emblematic locations, with the Plaza Porticada at the forefront of the celebrations.

A unique aspect of this edition is the dedication to local artists, who will delight the audience throughout the six days of celebration. Additionally, the City Council has designed a series of free parks, parties, games, and workshops in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento and the streets of Juan de Herrera and San Francisco, ensuring that families can fully enjoy the fun as well.

The highlight of the festival will arrive on August 30th, with a solemn mass in honor of the Martyrs at 12:00 pm in the Plaza de la Catedral, followed by a performance by the Coros y Danzas de Santander group. But the fun won’t stop there, as the Plaza Porticada will come alive with the music of the local group ‘Maneras de Vivir’ starting at 10:00 pm, providing a spectacular closing for the festivities.

The nights will light up with an impressive fireworks show at the Second Beach of El Sardinero at 11:00 pm on the 29th. Furthermore, the Darling Disco Show will take over the Mesones park to offer an unforgettable macro disco experience.

The Martyrs’ Festival represents much more than a simple celebration; it’s an invitation to immerse yourself in the rich tradition and culture of Santander. Attendees will have the opportunity not only to enjoy live performances, music, and fireworks but also to explore the Roman Market, an experience that will transport them to ancient Rome through more than 100 stalls of crafts and gastronomy.

As part of this exciting celebration, the Hotel Antoyana in Santander provides the perfect accommodation to witness this unique festival. Enjoy comfort and hospitality while diving into the history and joy of the Martyrs. Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of this incredible celebration!

A Legacy of Faith and Sacrifice: The Story of the Martyrs

The story of the Martyrs, Emeterio and Celedonio, begins in the city of Calahorra (La Rioja), where both brothers suffered martyrdom during the persecution of the Roman emperor Diocletian around the year 298.

Despite their affiliation with the Roman legions, Emeterio and Celedonio abandoned their positions to openly profess their loyalty to the Christian faith. Brought before the Tribunal, they did not renounce their belief and were subjected to torment in prison, where they remained for a time. On the outskirts of the city, near the Cidacos River, a tributary of the Ebro, they faced martyrdom and were finally beheaded on March 3rd. Their bodies rested in that place as servants of God.

The relics of these Martyrs were brought to Cantabria in the Early Middle Ages, amidst Arab incursions that threatened their security. To protect them, they were hidden under the current “lower church” (Santísimo Cristo) of the Cathedral.

In 1531, a series of excavations revealed the relics, which have been kept guarded in the current reliquaries since then. These precious relics are venerated in the temple of the Santísimo Cristo parish.

Devotion to the Martyrs is not limited solely to Santander, a city that takes part of its name from Saint Emeterio (“San Emeter-Santander”), but extends throughout the Diocese. In 1791, responding to the request of Bishop Menéndez de Luarca, Pope Pius VI declared them patrons of the Diocese in a gesture that transcends time and space.

This legacy of faith, sacrifice, and devotion is the foundation of the festival celebrated in honor of the Martyrs each year in Santander. Tradition intertwines with modern life, inviting citizens and visitors to be part of this unique celebration that unites the past and the present in an enriching experience.

Festival Schedule: Timings and Activities to Maximize Your Enjoyment


  • 12:30 PM: Opening of the Roman Market at Plaza Juan Carlos I, Burgos Street, and Alameda de Oviedo.
  • City Hall Square:
  • 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM: Children’s playground.
  • Juan de Herrera and San Francisco Streets:
  • 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM: Children’s characters.
  • San Francisco Street:
  • 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM: Traditional games like Giant Parcheesi, ‘Paso del Río’, Sack Race, Pañuelito…
  • Porticada Square:
  • 8:00 PM: Real de Jalisco Mariachi.
  • 10:00 PM: The Chigros.


  • Plaza Juan Carlos I, Burgos Street, and Alameda de Oviedo:
  • 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM: Roman Market (break from 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM).
  • City Hall Square:
  • 7:30 PM: ‘Live, Dream, Dance’. Begoña Machín Dance School.
  • Juan de Herrera Street:
  • 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM: ‘El Arriero de los Juegos’.
  • Porticada Square:
  • 7:30 PM: Municipal Band of Music from Berza (Galicia).
  • 10:00 PM: Tronco Band.


  • Plaza Juan Carlos I, Burgos Street, and Alameda de Oviedo:
  • 11:30 AM – 10:30 PM: Roman Market (break from 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM).
  • City Hall Square:
  • 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM: Children’s playground.
  • Porticada Square:
  • 8:00 PM: ‘Amigos del Arte’ Zarzuela Company.
  • 10:00 PM: ‘Green River’ | Tribute to Creedence Clearwater Revival.


  • Juan de Herrera Street:
  • 6:30 PM: Workshops for wooden keychains and bookmarks.
  • Porticada Square:
  • 7:00 PM: Sardinero Choir.
  • 8:00 PM: Ronda Garcilaso Choir.
  • 9:30 PM: Martes, Martes.
  • 10:30 PM: Toma Ketoma.
  • City Hall Square:
  • 7:30 PM: ‘Latin Dance under the sun’.


  • City Hall Square:
  • 7:30 PM: ‘Magic’ Children’s Disco Party.
  • Juan de Herrera Street:
  • 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM: Family games like Giant Parcheesi, Stilts, Tic-tac-toe…
  • San Francisco Street:
  • 6:30 PM: Salt and badges boat workshops.
  • 7:45 PM: Processional transfer of the martyrs’ relics from Cristo Church to the Cathedral.
  • Porticada Square:
  • 8:00 PM: ‘Songs of Our Life’ | Featuring soloists Gonzalo Gago and Tatiana Furis, accompanied by Alberto Saborit and the Trasmiera Choir from Pontejos.
  • Stadium Avenue:
  • 9:30 PM – 11:00 PM | 11:15 PM – 2:00 AM: Darling Disco Show.
  • El Sardinero Second Beach:
  • 11:00 PM: Fireworks.


  • 11:30 AM: Performance by Coros y Danzas de Santander from City Hall Square to Porticada Square.
  • Santander Cathedral:
  • 12:00 PM: Solemn Mass.
  • Atarazanas Square:
  • 1:00 PM: Folklore with Coros y Danzas de Santander.
  • City Hall Square:
  • 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM: Children’s playground.
  • 7:30 PM: ‘Los Tropezantes’ Children’s Party.
  • Juan de Herrera Street:
  • 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM: ‘Playing in the Street’.
  • Porticada Square:
  • 8:00 PM: Son de Indianos.
  • 10:00 PM: END OF FESTIVAL | Maneras de Vivir.