Category Archives: Basque Fact of the Week

Basque Fact of the Week: Restaurateur Henri Soulé and La Côte Basque

This one maybe goes in the “if” category. La Côte Basque has been in the news a lot lately. La Côte Basque is a chapter in an unfinished novel by Truman Capote named after a famed New York restaurant – it is about New York socialites and is being brought to the small screen as […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The Muslim Banu Qasi Dynasty

I’ve often heard that the Basques have never been conquered. However, during the Muslim invasion of what would eventually become Spain, they reached the borders of the Basque region. This led to significant military, political, and even familial interactions between the Muslims and the Basques. In fact, one of the most prominent families of the […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Txorizo (Chorizo) and Txistorra

About the time I went off to college, my dad started making his own chorizo. He’d send me off with packages of frozen sausage – at the time, he’d pack them in a cut up milk jug filled with water and freeze them. So, I’d have rows and rows of chorizo that I’d broken free […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Uberuaga Island

Basque names are unusual and often striking, immediately recognizable. And generally they are rare, particularly on maps. So, it is pretty cool when your distant cousin is recognized for her career by having an island named after her. Maybe that should be on my bucket list – to visit Uberuaga Island. Thanks to Damiana Uberuaga […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Composer Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga

When a budding genius dies young, one wonders “what if” they had lived longer, what could they have accomplished? Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga, though not even reaching his 20th birthday, displayed such musical genius that he was often compared to Mozart. His teachers praised him for his deep understanding of composition and harmony, despite the fact […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Inguma, the Bringer of Nightmares

Humans have always needed explanations for why bad things happen. If a crop went bad or a violent storm destroyed the harvest, maybe a wizard was the cause. Or maybe someone had not paid the proper tribute to a god or goddess. Bad dreams and nightmares are probably one of the most confounding experiences for […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Bilbo’s Iron Ring, a Defense that Failed

“The best-laid plans of mice and men…” Well, one can argue that Bilbo’s Iron Ring, meant to protect the city from the advancing forces of Franco, wasn’t even the best of plans. Fraught with poor and antiquated ideas, it was then sabotaged as the main designer switched sides. In the end, the Iron Ring did […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Pedro de Axular, the Man and the Myth

There are some people that become larger than life, who take on new roles in the popular imagination because of their accomplishment and become legendary characters in their own right. Axular is one such person. A priest who served many years in the Lapurdi town of Sara, he became mythic, the protagonist of local legends. […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Amalur, Mother Earth

Basque mythology can be a bit daunting to delve in to. The problem is that not much was written down and the bits we do have – much thanks to amazing ethnographers such as José Miguel de Barandiaran Ayerbe – are tangled threads of stories where characters and themes have merged and split many times, […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The Feria of Santo Tómas

One of the biggest events to open the Christmas season in the Basque Country is the Feria of Santo Tómas, a rural market in the heart of the city. Originating in Gipuzkoa – more specifically Donostia – it has spread as a celebration throughout the Basque Country. Today, the Feria is a celebration of rural […]