Link Dump: Pelota, Picon, and Pipes

Here are a few links I’ve run across that I thought were worth sharing.

Pelota is immensely popular in Euskal Herria.  Most evenings I was there, a match was being shown on the TVs of most bars.  Even though cesta punta — jai alai to the rest of the world — is the most flashy version of pelota, the most popular within the Basque Country is pelota mano — hand ball.  Every match I saw on TV was mano.  It is amazing to think about the punishment these guys do to their hands.  In any case, Fronton is a site that is trying to bring “a game with centuries of traditions to a new millenuim.” They have news, rankings, videos, forums, and more.  If you are a pelota junky, or just want to learn more about the sport, this is the site for you.

I’m not one for hard alcohol — simply just don’t like the taste — so I have never tried a Picon punch.  However, this article in The Atlantic uses Picon punch as the context to describe a bit of Basque history and the Basque way of life in the western US.  According to the article, Picon punch isn’t what it used to be, mostly because the Amer Picon from which it was made is no longer available in the US.

Finally, this site describes a woodcut purchased by the website developer of a scene depicting Basques working on their catch after a whale hunt.  What really caught the eye of the writer, however, is the presence of a bagpipe player.  The Basques are known for lots of things, but playing the bagpipes is not necessarily one of them.  The bagpipes, within Iberia, are typically associated with the Gallegos.  But, the woodcut is from the late 1500s and the author is speculating that maybe the Basques did play the bagpipes.  Does anyone know?

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