BUBER'S BASQUE PAGE
Ongi Etorri! What started out as a personal homepage has grown
to a site that contains nearly 1000 pages and receives over 16,000
hits per day. The popularity of this site is a testament to all of
those who have contributed to this site. Eskerrik asko!
I am always looking to improve the site. If you would like to
contribute, please contact me.
Enjoy your visit.
March 17th, 2013
People fall in love with a place for various reasons. For Jeremy, it started with his love for a Basque woman, who later became his wife. Visiting the Basque Country with her lead to a fascination with her homeland and, ultimately, a new website aimed at introducing the Basque Country to those who have not had the luck to discover it yet.
Euskoguide is, in the words of Jeremy, “a Basque Country travel guide website which covers all of Euskal Herria. My wife and I have travelled around collecting information and photos of the region. Our goal with the site was to create something that would really help people in not only planning their trip but also to convince others of how awesome it is and to go check it out for themselves.”
The website features some beautiful photos of the Basque Country and an introductory guide to the places and sites of the region. It also gives an introduction to the food and drink of the Basque Country, starting with pintxos and sagardotegis. The website is very nicely put together and promises a lot more in the future.
If you are interested in visiting the Basque Country, Euskoguide can serve as an introduction to some of the most popular and intriguing spots.
March 17th, 2013
The now defunct Journal of Basque Studies in America was a journal published by Society of Basque Studies in America to promote Basque culture by publishing in English articles that would be of interest to a wider American audience. The goal was to essentially disseminate information about Basque culture that otherwise would not make it to an English speaking audience. That journal, which ended publication in 2011, was transferred to Boise State University and its Basque Studies Program.
Fast forward to today and the journal has been reincarnated as BOGA: Basque Studies Consortium Journal. BOGA has the same basic aims as the Journal of Basque Studies in America, but with a bit more rigorous peer review. Those aims are nicely summarized on the BOGA website:
This journal aims to be a part of the long-standing tradition of Basque higher education as symbolized by the Basque Country’s first university built in Oñati, Gipuzkoa in 1548 (incorporated into our website theme). The town of Oñati also holds additional significance for Boise State University’s Basque Studies Program because it served as the first location for the studies abroad program in the Basque Country in the 1970s. This journal is a multi-disciplinary, peer-reviewed academic publication dedicated to the scholarly study of all aspects of Basque culture with the aspiration to foster a better understanding of Basque culture and heritage in its diverse aspects by disseminating original works of interest to an English speaking audience and to encourage interaction–learning links–among academics from various learning traditions; e.g., linguistic, philosophical, anthropological, ethnological, historic, literary, artistic, religious, economic, cultural, international relations, etc. The Basque sculptor Jorge Oteiza stated that to move forward, one had to look backward, and that is conceptualized by the rowboat image as the rowers make progress while looking behind. This journal hopes to contribute to the shared “rowing” effort among institutions and individuals to mutually support efforts in Basque Studies.
Many familiar names are associated with the journal, including: John Ysursa, William Douglass, Pedro Oiarzabal, Sam Zengotitabengoa, and Joseba Zulaika, among many more.
The inaugural issue is not online yet, but promises to have very interesting perspectives on a number of Basque topics, if the articles that appeared in the Journal of Basque Studies in America is any indication.
I’m personally very excited to see the launch of this new effort. There are a lot of aspects of Basque culture, history, and linguistics that simply are inaccessible to people who do not speak Basque or Spanish. This journal will provide a vehicle for at least some of those ideas and discoveries to reach an English audience.
February 13th, 2013
Benoit Etcheverry Macazaga has been a presence the internet, promoting Basque culture, for a number of years now. His newest venture, 8 Probintziak Elkartea, rekindles a theme he initiated a few years back of trying to draw together with stronger ties the Basque Country and the Basque diaspora. Part of his goal is to simply make Basques in the Basque Country more aware of their cousins in the diaspora, and vice versa. The goal of his website it to facilitate this by sharing links and news items that might be of broad interest to Basques, support genealogical research, promote physical exchanges between Basques in the Basque Country and in the diaspora, and exchange business ideas between all Basques to encourage economic development. As part of this, his website lists the feeds from a number of other Basque websites, including this one (thanks Benoit!)
In fact, the name of the site — 8 Probintziak Eklartea — emphasizes this idea of an 8th Basque province, the diaspora, that has it’s own contributions to make to the Basque experience, that the diaspora is a significant part of Basque culture. By promoting these connections and establishing stronger ties between the Basque Country and Basques all around the world, Benoit is trying to strengthen Basque culture world-wide.
A companion project is a radio program, 8HZ Radio. Co-hosted with Robert Acheritogaray and Adelaide Daraspe, the program directly engages the Basque diaspora and brings their views and activities to the Basque Country.
The only thing he is missing is a snappy logo!
Update: Benoit pointed out to me that he does have a snappy logo, on the Facebook page for 8 Probintziak. Sorry Benoit!
January 22nd, 2013
The last few weekends, my family and I have been visiting consignment galleries, hoping to put an item up for sale. Usually, we simply hear that they aren’t interested and then we end up wandering the gallery for an hour, looking at all of the memories people are hoping to get a little bit of cash for, most of which don’t really pique our interest. Once in a while, we see something that would look pretty cool in our house, but doesn’t quite fit either our decor or our budget.
Today, however, we stumbled, almost quite literally, on the most amazing piece, not only because of its beauty, but also because the piece was adorned with Euskara.
We were wandering through the gallery, passing various pieces of furniture, most of which didn’t get much of a second glance from us. However, this ornate sideboard did catch my eye, especially when I noticed some writing on the central cabinet and rosettas that were familiar. It took me a second to register what I was seeing. A sideboard, here in Santa Fe, with a phrase in Euskara as the focus? Carved on the central cabinet of the sideboard was the following phrase:
Eskuara eskualdunen hizkuntza da ez da errecha barnan ikhasten ahal da lihenbizikoria behar dena nahikundea da eta gero jarraiki
The piece is also adorned with rosettas similar to what I’ve seen in other pieces in the Basque Country and in drawings. It has shelves for displaying plates and platters, cabinets underneath, and, as I mentioned, that central cabinet with the Euskara on the front, and a lock.
Amazingly, the gallery had only recently received it, only about a week ago, from an estate in Santa Fe.
If anyone might have any answers as to where this sideboard might have been made and when, I’d be greatly interested. Anyone know anything about this?
While it is a very cool piece, more than wanting it I’m very intrigued by it. Where did it come from? How old might it be? Why did someone in Santa Fe have it? Were they Basque, desiring something from their homeland in their home, or had they simply traveled to the Basque Country, fallen in love with the place, and purchased an admittedly extravagant souvenir? What does the Euskara translate into? I know it has to do with the language and learning, but the full meaning escapes me. It would be great to know more about the history of both the piece and the person who owned it.
The consignment gallery that has this remarkable, at least for Santa Fe, piece is Recollections.
January 20th, 2013
My wife’s grandmother’s cookbook had this clipping from a newspaper, probably from Salmon, Idaho. Anyone know roughly when this would be? There was no date in the saved clipping.
Baking your own Sheepherder’s Bread
Many Basques still enjoy baking the dome-shaped loaves of sheepherder’s bread at home, like Anita Mitchell. She gave us her recipe that won the bread-baking championship at the National Basque Festival last year. Her updated method for baking in a conventional oven is more reliable than the old way of baking in a pit that you see at right (picture not included).
You’ll need a 10-inch cast iron or cast aluminum covered Dutch oven (5-quart size); for pit-baking, it should have a bale (wire handle) and be well seasoned.
- 3 cups very hot tap water
- 1/2 cup butter, margarine, or shortening
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- About 9 1/2 cups all purpose flour, unsifted
- Salad oil
In a bowl, combine the hot water, butter, sugar, and salt. Stir until butter melts; let cool to warm (110 to 115 degrees). Stir in yeast, cover, and set in a warm place until bubbly, about 15 minutes.
Add 5 cups of the flour and beat with a heavy-duty mixer or wooden spoon to form a thick batter. With a spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour (about 3 1/2 cups) to form a stiff dough. Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. Turn dough over in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down dough and knead on a floured board to form a smooth ball. Cut a circle of foil to cover the bottom of the Dutch oven. Grease the inside of the Dutch oven and the underside of the lid with salad oil.
Place dough in the pot and cover with the lid. Let rise in a warm place until dough pushes up the lid by about 1/2 inch, about 1 hour (watch closely).
Bake, covered with lid, in a 375 degree oven for 12 minutes. Remove lid and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes, or until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and turn loaf out (you’ll need a helper) onto a rack to cool. Makes 1 very large loaf.
A poignant camp custom: Before serving, a herder would slash the sigh of the cross on top of the loaf, then serve the first piece to his invaluable dog.
January 18th, 2013
A pidgin, according to Wikipedia, is “a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common.” That is, when two new groups come into contact and they can’t communicate, they begin create a new language that is some hybrid of the two.
The Basques were known for their seafaring and wide travels. During these travels, they certainly met many peoples with whom they did not share a common language. For example, there is some evidence that the Basques developed a pidgin language with the native inhabitants of the North American coast where they had gone for whales. In fact, this is the oldest known example of a pidgin in North America, with the Basques developing a common pidgin language with the Micmacs and the Montagnais. Interestingly, in this pidgin language, when the Basques asked the locals how they were, they would respond “apaizak hobeto”, or “the priests are better.”
Another very interesting pidgin involving Euskara is with the Icelanders. In roughly the 17th century, as the Basques were exploring the Atlantic for fishing opportunities, they found their way to Iceland, another place where they had no common language. Actually, the Basque-Icelandic pidgin is a complex mix of a number of languages that these two disparate groups of people used to communicate. Interestingly, the Icelanders documented this pidgin and the Basque-Icelandic glossaries are now online for all to browse.
Apparently, the Basques had a long history in Iceland, essentially competing with the locals for fishing resources. This lead to a number of violent encounters. This incident, again from Wikipedia but originally described by Jón Guðmundsson the learned, gives a flavor for what kind of things were going on:
In the 17th and 18th centuries Basque whalers hunted in Icelandic waters. Despite any mutually beneficial results, in 1615, a crew of 32 shipwrecked and stranded Basques were executed by Icelanders. Jón Guðmundsson condemned the local sheriff for this decision in his account of the event.
The glossary has a number of colorful phrases. Let me just mention one. In a recent paper by Viola Giulia Miglio, Dr. Miglio reanalyzes the glossary and points out a phrase that had previously eluded translation. The phrase is Sickutta Samaria – serda merina. The meaning of the second phrase, Icelandic, had been clear — defile the mare — but the Basque had not been translated. Dr. Miglio proposes the first word is xikotu and that the phrase, in a more polite translation, means go shag a horse. Sailors have always had a reputation for colorful language and Basque sailors are no exception.
A more complete bibliography specifically on the Basque-Icelandic pidgin can be found at Euskosare. I first heard about these pidgins a number a years ago when I encountered the work of Peter Bakker.
January 16th, 2013
January 20. The day that the entire populace of the city of Donostia-San Sebastian stop what they are doing and have a massive street party that lasts until dawn. Donostia, the most beautiful city that I’ve had the fortune and pleasure to visit. January 20, the day that the city of Donostia stops and celebrates my birthday.
Ok, maybe that’s not quite right. Oh, it is true that the city celebrates the entire night, with roving bands dressed as chefs and others drumming, wielding larger-than-life spoons and forks. It’s probably where I did my first gaupasa, though it’s hard to be sure — gaupasak are often a little fuzzy. But I do remember that the Parte Vieja was probably one of the most exciting places during one of the most exciting events I’ve ever been to.
But, it is a bit of an exaggeration to say that, every year on January 20, Donostia celebrates my birthday.
Rather, January 20 is the feast day of San Sebastian, the obvious patron saint of, er, San Sebastian. La Tamborrada (Danborrada in Euskara) has its origins in locals mocking foreign soldiers in the city, marching around the city banging on things like drums (according to the ever reliable Wikipedia).
Just in time for those of you longing to experience La Tamborrada from far away, or wanting to reminisce past gaupasak in the Parte Vieja, or just interested in the history of this glorious event, a book has just been released honoring and celebrating this fiesta. Tamborrada-Danborrada, by Mikel G. Gurpegui and Javier Mª Sada, delves into the history of La Tamborrada, including describing all of the companies that wander the streets throughout the night. For those of us who can’t actually join in the festivities, this is a suitable substitute.
Whatever excuse all of those people have for celebrating the entire night of January 20, I hope that a few of them raise a glass in honor of my birthday
January 12th, 2013
A new feature of WordPress is to generate an annual report of activity for a given blog. I thought I’d share mine, just because. The report is here. It only has data since I activated “Jet Pack”, so since roughly May. And it only reflects visits to the main blog site and not the side pages that are part of the original Buber’s Basque Page.
The main thing is that I guess I’ve only done about 21 posts since May. Not so much. I always have the best intentions of doing more, but clearly I don’t get it done. We’ll see if I can do better this year.
Also, the posts don’t seem to generate many comments. I would like to generate more dialog with my visitors, but I’m not quite sure how to go about doing that. Any suggestions?
Overall, I would like to get some opinions on what people would like to see from this blog and this site more generally. Of course, the best intentions are often derailed by the demands of everyday life, but I will certainly do my best.
Urte berri on denari!
October 28th, 2012
Aitor Delgado recently wrote me describing his tour company, Aitor Delgado Tours, with the tag line Get a Real Basque Experience with your Personal Tour Guide. Aitor describes his goals better than I ever could:
My name is Aitor Delgado. I love my country and I have been showing it enthusiastically around for more than 14 years in private tours to friends, colleagues and clients of more than 40 countries.
I have travelled to more than 50 countries around the world (and counting). This contact with people of all ages, sexes, origins and religions made my prejudices fastly dissapear and help me to understand the diversity of our world.
I used in my travels the language as a way to interact with locals and to understand better their culture. I speak fluently Spanish, Basque, English & Italian and I have as well a medium level in French and German and say a few words and sentences in many other languages.
Now I am happy to help you with my tours to understand the art, history, traditions and culture of the Basque Country.
Let me be your host in the Basque Country and let me show you the must seen but also the hidden gems of this region both in Spain and France with my tours: Basque Country, Pays Basque, Castille, Navarre & La Rioja: its museums (Bilbao is not only Guggenheim Museum), traditions, culture, nature, food and wines.
Discover all aspects of our region with a local.
Private tours adjusted to you
All my tours can be tailored only for you and the ones you want to share with (your partner, family, children, friends…).
We will see the most interesting sights, but also the off-the-beaten-track places only known by locals.
And always at your speed and according to your interests and the time you have.
Do you need any help? I am willing to help you.
Given the large interest in people discovering their roots, and the fact that there is no better way than to visit the Basque Country, I’ll continue to share these services as I learn abou them.
September 18th, 2012
Do you remember that AT&T commercial from 2000 featuring a Basque sheepherder, mingling with his flock in the American West, talking on his cell phone with his family back in the Basque Country? Pedro Oiarzabal does. He uses this commercial, featuring the late Dionisio Choperena, to lead off his article on the Basque Diaspora, an article requested by Facebook for a new initiative they have called Facebook Stories.
The tag line of Facebook Stories is “People using Facebook in extraordinary ways.” And Pedro, who many of you may know from his research on and close connections with the Basque Diaspora not only in the US but around the world, describes how social media such as Facebook have helped to bridge the gulf between the Basque Diaspora and Euskal Herria. This is especially pertinent to the Basques since, as Pedro points out, there are more Basques living outside the Basque Country than within it. And, today, with practicing culture being almost a lifestyle choice, anything that helps Basques of the diaspora connect with the mother culture and give them an outlet to explore, express, and enhance their culture is critical to ensuring it flourishes.
Pedro draws from his connections and experiences working with the Basque Diaspora to highlight how social media has brought new people together to forge new collaborations, how a family dispersed across the entire globe is discovering its roots, and how second generation Basque Americans use social media to connect to the culture of their parents and grandparents. I must also say eskerrik asko to Pedro for calling out this very page!
Pedro’s article is one of the first to be featured on Facebook Stories. It kicked off the series in grand fashion and is followed by a wide variety of stories, including one on how a scientist used Facebook to identify 5000 species of fish within 24 hours. Some fascinating stuff!
- Morris Student Plus, a great online Basque-English dictionary. There is a print version too.
- EITB24 is the best source for news
from the Basque Country in English.
- Astero is NABO's free Basque news & information service, brought to you by John Ysursa.
- Enciclopedia Auñamendi, the Basque online encyclopedia with entries on every Basque topic imaginable.
Gaurko Esaera Zaharra
Proverb of the Day
Haria meheenean eten ohi da
A thread usually breaks where it is thinnest.