Baiona / Festival of Pinzón’s Arrival

La Arribada (“the Arrival”) Festival commemorates the docking of the caravel La Pinta, which brought the first news of the American continent to Spain.

Although it commemorates events that occurred over 500 years ago, the Festival of Pinzón’s Arrival in Baiona (in Pontevedra province) came about relatively recently—in 1974—but it quickly caught on among the townspeople and outside visitors. Today more than 30,000 people gather in Baiona for the event.

The festival commemorates a historic event: the arrival of the caravel La Pinta in the town’s port on March 1st, 1493, making it the first of Columbus’ three ships to return to Spanish soil after reaching America on October 12th, 1492. At the head of the crew was Martín Alonso Pinzón, the first person to spot the New World on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Baiona was the first town in Spain to learn of the discovery which would transform the course of history, and the corregidor of this Galician town had the privilege of being the first person to hear Pinzón’s news. Although the festival’s predecessor dates back to the 19th century, Pinzón’s Arrival was officially declared a local festival by the Baiona Municipal Government on March 1st, 1974.

However, in light of the increasing number of events organized around the reenactment, it now takes place on the weekend after the official dates of the festival. The main event, which is repeated on Saturday and Sunday in the morning, is the reenactment of the arrival of La Pinta on a jam-packed La Ribera Beach. Actors recreate the telling of Pinzón’s tale about their momentous discovery. Dozens of actors dressed in period clothing participate in the reenactment, and a replica of La Pinta (which remains anchored in the port for the rest of the year) sets sail.

The La Pinta replica was built in 1993 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Discovery. Inside it houses a museum where visitors can see pieces from the two “worlds”—one Christian, one indigenous—and the new plants and animals from the New Continent which were introduced to the Old European Continent.

Fiesta de la Arribada
Mercado durante la Arribada

The remembrance of this historic occasion has become a full-fledged festival which transports Baiona back to the Middle Ages for a weekend. During La Arribada Festival in Baiona, a market is set up on the streets of the historical quarter and the surrounding area where you can buy artisanal products and food items that were consumed in the 15th century. Meanwhile, parades of musicians, troubadours, and jugglers pass through the streets, and there are activities for the entertainment of the crowds, such as archery, falconry exhibits, jousting tournaments, magic shows, and a variety of concerts. The official program of events culminates in the awarding of the Gold Medal of Baiona to individuals or organizations who have done outstanding cultural work within the context of emigration, followed by an official ceremony including representatives of the governments of Palos de la Frontera (Huelva), Santa Fe (Granada), and Pornic (France), Baiona’s sister cities.

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