Águeda means "Good, Virtuous" and the festivity commemorates the saint's virtues. In order to praise her, the custom says that the night before February 5th
the streets are filled with coplas
(sticks that are hit against the ground). On the big day, many other towns and villages also hold festivities in her honour. In some places such as Arróniz there is a tradition of setting up a Txiki
(youngsters') City Council, where children wear the ceremonial dress of the Council and make a speech from the balcony of the town hall.
There is no doubt, however, that the place where it is most spectacular is Altsasu/Alsasua
. The protagonists of the day are the quintos
. Previously, on January 6th
, "The Kings of Santa Águeda"
are selected from a pack of cards sorted at random. The people who pick the first kings are the chosen ones. During the morning of the day of Santa Águeda, young people go from door to door collecting money, dressed in white with four neck scarves on their shoulders and a stick of holly adorned with silk ribbons. The kings are accompanied by the txistularis
(Basque pipe and drum players). After lunch, the king 'inaugurates' the zortziko
dances (typical of the town) in the main square.