Category Archives: Folklore

Finding the Voice of the Victims: An Interview with Emma Wilby

I recently read Emma Wilby’s most recent book, Invoking the Akelarre, which I found fascinating. She examines the records from the Basque witch trials of the 1600s, searching for evidence of what the victims who were accused of witchcraft really thought and believed and what was essentially placed in their mouths by their accusers and […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Olentzero, the Basque Santa Claus

In almost any Basque-themed celebration of Christmas, instead of Santa Claus, a very distinct figure appears, wearing not a bright red suit trimmed in white but rather a more mundane outfit, often a blue or black shirt with blue pants topped off with a black beret. In modern times, he is portrayed as a joyful […]

Invoking the Akelarre by Emma Wilby

The Basque Witch Trials epitomized a time of hysteria and violence. Inspired to some degree by the neighboring trials in France, almost 7,000 people were investigated by the Spanish Inquisition on suspicions of being witches or dealing in witchcraft. While not so many were executed, by European standards, the wealth and breadth of records associated […]

Basque Fact of the Week: In Basque Mythology, Before Humans, There Was a Race of Giants

Basques are known for the strong Catholic devotion. However, the Basques are also known to have converted to Christianity relatively late. Before, they had a mythology that was based on various supernatural beings. One of those was the Jentilak, or race of giants. These beings, immense in size, existed before humans, though maybe co-existed with […]

The Basque Dragon

There aren’t too many references to the Basques in popular culture, particularly for kids. So, when I saw The Basque Dragon, part of The Unicorn Rescue Society series of books by Adam Gidwitz, Jesse Casey, and Hatem Aly, I jumped on the chance and got it for my daughter. The premise of the series, as […]

Legends and Popular Tales of the Basque People by Mariana Monteiro

Relatively, as compared to the other peoples of Europe, the Basques converted to Christianity rather late. While Christianity seems to arrived in the region in the 4th or 5th centuries, it didn’t really take hold amongst the population until roughly the 12th or 13th centuries (Wikipedia has a summary of what is known and debated […]