Category Archives: Folklore

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, […]

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 […]