Tag Archives: christmas

Fighting Basques: Basques in the Last Christmas of the War: The Battle of the Bulge

This article originally appeared in Spanish at El Diario on January 16, 2020. On December 14, 1944, two days before a large-scale German offensive began in the Ardennes and just four days after his 33rd birthday, the Basque-Californian soldier Alfred Starr Etcheverry wrote what would be his last letter to his wife Marion Hazard and […]

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: 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 […]

Marraskiloak: Christmas Snails

My wife sent me this interesting article about the migration of snails to Ireland. The article, which summaries this study in PLOS ONE, concludes that a specific species of snails made its way from the Eastern Pyrenees to Ireland maybe 8000 years ago. Granted, today, the eastern part of the Pyrenees is not Basque — […]