Category Archives: Folklore

Basque Fact of the Week: Caves and Caverns of the Basque Country

We often associate prehistory with caves, with literal cavemen and cavewomen who sought shelter from the elements and predators within the safety of chasms and grottos. The Basque Country, a place where mountains meet the sea, is full of caves, caverns, and subterranean tunnels. These natural shelters have played a huge role in the history, […]

Basque Fact of the Week: San Martin Txiki, the Basque Trickster

Lots of stories describe how humans discovered the elements of civilization. We have fire because Prometheus was able to steal it from the gods. And such stories about the theft of fire are particularly common, with Rabbit or Coyote stealing fire in the Americas, Prometheus stealing it for the Greeks, and Pkharmat of the Vainakh […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Gabonzuzi, The Basque Yule Log

A lot of our Christmas traditions grew out of pre-Christian practices and beliefs, often arising from celebrations of the Winter Solstice. The idea of Christmas carols – of going from house-to-house singing songs – stems from Yule Singing or Wassailing. Mistletoe came from Celtic beliefs that associated it with male fertility. In fact, the whole […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The Lauburu

It’s perhaps the most iconic Basque symbol. The lauburu — literally four-heads. This curvilinear swastika is ubiquitous in the Basque Country, appearing on store fronts, tombstones, the doorways to baserri, and, now, masks protecting us from COVID-19. If someone wants a Basque-themed tattoo, they often turn to the lauburu for inspiration. But, where does this […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Basque Clothing through the Ages

One of the very distinctive elements of any Basque festival is the dancing and, in particular, the costumes the dancers wear — the white shirt and pants, adorned with a bright sash and txapela for the men and the white blouse and black vest atop a bright red skirt and black apron with leather shoes […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Aztikeria, Basque Magic

Humans have always had a contentious relationship with nature. We’ve always sought to control the world around us. Today, science and technology allow us to manipulate the very atoms that literally make up everything. However, it wasn’t so long ago that people turned to other ways of trying to bend the cosmos to their will, […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The Summer Solstice

The summer solstice, being the longest day of the year, is an important event in many cultures, marking the changing of seasons. Because of its importance, elaborate rituals and rites have arisen around this date all around around the globe, and the Basque Country is no exception. Many of the pre-Christian elements have been confused […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The Sun in the Basque Cosmos

As the brightest object in the heavens, the sun has always captured the fascination of those humans who gazed upon it. The Basques, of course, were no different. As the source of warmth, and thus its connection to nature and growth, it is central to several myths and stories. Much of what we know about […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Mari, the Basque Mother Earth

In the pre-Christian religion of the Basques, there wasn’t a strict hierarchy of beings, no Zeus or Odin who ruled over the rest of the gods. There were many wild spirts, such as the basajaunak, the lamiak, and the jentilak. And there were more powerful beings, including Sugaar and the vague sky-god Ortzi. However, Mari […]

Joanes 4: Traganarroo’s Revenge by Guillermo Zubiaga

Episode IV, Traganarroo’s Revenge: It is a period of civil war. Rebel ships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil British Empire. Joanes, aided by Rebel spies, managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon. Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Joanes races home aboard his magic txalupa, […]