Halloween is often thought to have Anglo-American origins, but could there be a Basque connection? Although Halloween, in the American sense, has spread round the world, bringing with it costumes and trick-or-treating traditions, pumpkin carving is not unique to our October 31 celebration, as the following video by the EITB (in Spanish and Basque) shows:
As the story goes, it was traditional to empty out pumpkins and carve faces into them in the Basque Country before All Saints Day, November 1, in order to ward off spirits. This practice, known as the Night of the Witches or Nocturnal Festivity, was celebrated to say goodbye to Autumn and the end of the harvesting season, giving light to the dark winter.
For more about the tradition, in the words of those who experienced it, enjoy the following video, in Basque, thanks to the Ahotsak oral history project:
The French newspaper Sud-Ouest recently published an article featuring 3 time-lapse videos captured in the Basque Country and they’re really worth watching. As the title to their article states, “they’ll make you fall in love with the Basque Country,” as if you haven’t already! These videos let you watch the landscape over time, and the choice of music really suits the images. Enjoy!
1. Sunset in Biarritz – credits: alex.dhie (Vimeo)
2. Hendaia’s Coast- credits: Jc Bdx (YouTube)
3. The sky over Larrun- credits: Nikovermusic (YouTube)
To check out the article, please visit:
As noted in a previous post, the location scouts for HBO’s award-winning and widely-acclaimed show Game of Thrones have chosen three sites on the Basque coast to film the upcoming 7th season. Filming on Muriola Beach (Barrika) and around San Juan de Gaztelugatxe (Bermeo), both in Bizkaia, has already wrapped up but Zumaia (Gipuzkoa) is busy, especially on Itzurun Beach. Fans are delighted to have the cast in their home towns and newspapers are buzzing with news about the filming every day, not to mention the sightings of the show’s actors.
Muriola Beach, Barrika
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
Acantilados del Flysch,
As you can see from these pictures, the locations are stunningly beautiful, perfect backdrops to the show’s drama. Although the three locations are on the coast, filming is taking place both on land and at sea.
Picking the Basque Country as one of its many locations, Game of Thrones‘ filming not only helps to boost tourism and awareness of the area at a global scale, but also creates jobs in these areas. People have lined up to be cast as extras, and the crew has tried to provide as many jobs to locals as possible. Wish I was there to get a sneak peak!
Be sure to watch season 7, which will be released in summer 2017, and keep a look out for the Basque Country! If you haven’t visited these places already, put them on your list!
There was an interesting article in the Noticias de Álava newspaper recently about a woodland and lumber fair held in Amurrio, Araba, last Sunday. It included the piece of data that, in the Basque Autonomous Community (BAC, made up of Araba, Bizkaia, and Gipuzkoa), there are 106 trees per person , with a woodland area covering 396,700 hectares, or 55% of the total terrain. It is estimated, moreover, that the lumber industry accounts for 12 billion euros annually. This all points to the lumber sector being an important part of the Basque economy.
The Irati Forest, Navarre. Photo by Juanma juesas, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
In “The Landscape of the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country: The Evolution of Forest Systems” by Lorena Peña and Ibone Amezaga, a chapter in Sustainable Development, Ecological Complexity, and Environmental Values, edited by Ignacio Ayestarán and Miren Onaindia, the authors address in detail the complex issues surrounding land use in woodland areas in the Basque Country.
See the original article in Noticias de Álava (in Spanish) here: http://www.noticiasdealava.com/2016/10/24/araba/euskadi-un-total-de-106-arboles-por-habitante
Gaztezulo magazine, with the support of the Azkue Foundation, has launched their 7th video contest, with the aim of promoting the use of Basque in the media by young people. The competition is open to participants from around the world, with the use of Basque being the only requirement. Are you one of the many Basque speakers of the diaspora? Get creative and participate!
The winner will take home a 1,200-euro prize, thanks to the Azkue Foundation, and the second best will be awarded 300 euros. The video with the most votes by November 10 on www.gaztezulo.eus will receive the Audience Award and a gift pack from Gaztezulo. The deadline for submitting your project is November 10, so stop what you’re doing and get started!
The Audience Award will be announced on November 28, while the names of the general contest winners will be released in December. The awards ceremony will take place at the Tabakalera, in Donostia, on December 16.
For more information, please visit: https://www.gaztezulo.eus/bideo-lehiaketa
October 18, 1997 marked the inauguration of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao – today one of the most emblematic sites in the Basque Country.
The Guggenheim by night. Photo by PA. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Hailed as a masterpiece and one of the most important buildings of the 20th century, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, designed by architect Frank Gehry, came to redefine the Basque Country as a whole and the city of Bilbao in particular: it was the “miracle” of Bilbao.
The “miracle” referred of course to Frank Gehry’s Bilbao masterpiece. Hailed as an “instant landmark,” it brought a new sense of relevance to architecture in the transformation of urban landscapes. It was the story of the architect as hero and, as the Greeks believed, of architecture as the first art—arché. Bilbao was doing for the Basques what the Sidney Opera House had done for Australia. Gehry, while complaining of being “geniused to death,” became not only the master architect, but the master artist.
These observations come from the introduction to Learning from the Bilbao Guggenheim, edited by Anna Maria Guasch and Joseba Zulaika. This book is available free to download here.
The Center also publishes other books on the social, cultural, and urban transformation of Bilbao and the Basque Country, for which the Guggenheim served in many respects as a springboard:
That Old Bilbao Moon: The Passion and Resurrection of a City, by Joseba Zulaika.
Transforming Cities: Opportunities and Challenges of Urban Regeneration in the Basque Country, edited by Arantxa Rodríguez and Joseba Juaristi.
Building the Basque City: The Political Economy of Nation-Building, by Nagore Calvo Mendizabal.
Ernest Hemingway (seated left) in 1925 with the persons depicted in the novel The Sun Also Rises. The individuals depicted include Hemingway, Harold Loeb, Lady Duff Twysden; and Hadley Richardson, Ogden Stewart and Pat Guthrie. Original caption is “Ernest Hemingway with Lady Duff Twysden, Hadley Hemingway, Lonnie Schutte and three unidentified people at a cafe in Pamplona, Spain, during the Fiesta of San Fermin in July 1925.” Ernest Hemingway Collection, John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, Boston, MA. In Public Domain, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Ernest Hemingway’s classic The Sun Also Rises, a work infused with references to the Basque Country and Basque culture, was first published on October 22, 1926. To celebrate this 90th anniversary, a new book has just been presented that celebrates Hemingway’s well-known love of all things gastronomic. The trilingual Comer con/Eat with/Manger avec Hemingway, by Javier Muñoz, traces Hemingway’s steps as portrayed in the autobiographical The Sun Also Rises. It serves as a tourist guide to the places Hemingway visited and includes 128 recipes of the local cuisine he tasted by 52 chefs from the Basque Country, Aragón, and La Rioja. Check out a brief report on the book presentation (in Spanish) below:
To find out more about the book click here: http://eatwithhemingway.com/
We would like to invite you to attend the Center for Basque Studies’ Fall 2016 Basque Multidisciplinary Seminar Series. It is usually held every Wednesday at 5:00 PM at the Basque Studies Conference Room (MIKC 305), located at UNR’s Knowledge Center. We are delighted to present graduate student and faculty research interests, recent publications, and upcoming graduate dissertations.
The first two lectures were held on October 10 and 12, kicking off the series with Edurne Arostegui’s presentation on “The Creation of Basque-American Identity,” which is part of her dissertation topic. Dr. Louis Forline, professor of Anthropology at UNR, then gave a talk on “Anthropological Perspectives on Race and Identity in Brazil and the U.S.” As you can see, the topics are varied in content, giving graduate students and faculty the chance to present on research in progress. It’s a great way to get to know what we’re up to at the CBS and in UNR’s community more broadly.
Tomorrow, October 19 at 4:30, Dr. Pedro J. Oiarzabal will be giving a talk entitled “The Fighting Basques Project: Basques of Nevada in W.W.II,” based on research by Guillermo Tabernilla, a military historian from the Sancho de Beurko Association. It deals with Basque participation in the U.S. armed forces during World War II, and has recently been published in Saibigain, available at the following website: http://www.fightingbasques.net/en-us/Saibigain-Magazine
Dr. Oiarzabal is a researcher at the Pedro Arrupe Human Rights Institute at the University of Deusto and holds the Jon Bilbao Research Fellowship on the Basque Diaspora at UNR. He also coordinates, alongside Nerea Mujika, the director of the Institute for Basque Studies at Deusto, the “Ondare Bizia” or Living Heritage Project. For more information visit: http://dkh.deusto.es/en/community/ondarebizia
Check out the poster for upcoming lectures. We look forward to seeing you there!
Have you ever come across mysterious carvings on aspen trees while taking a hike or walk? You might be surprised to learn that these arboglyphs were made by Basque sheepherders during their long and lonely periods grazing sheep in the Sierra Nevada region. They carved their names and images with whatever tools they had at hand, leaving behind their mark on the American West.
Next Tuesday, October 25, Jean Moore Earl will be giving a talk on the conservation effort she and her husband Phillip embarked upon to document these works of self-expression. They have preserved over 130 carvings through wax-on-muslin rubbings made from the images themselves. Many of the carvings are now lost due to the short life of aspens and fires, but the Earl’s work has helped to not only document this art but also give it meaning by trying to understand the Basque sheepherding world and experience.
Jean and Phillip Earl are co-authors of Basque Aspen Art of the Sierra Nevada (2011), a beautiful book that reproduces their rubbings alongside a discussion of the carvings. Definitely worth checking out: http://basquebooks.myshopify.com/products/basque-aspen-art-of-the-sierra-nevada
Photo credits: Joxe Mallea-Olaetxe:
“Basque Aspen Art of the Sierra Nevada”
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Mackay Science, room 321UNR Campus
If you’d like to know more about UNR’s Arboretum, visit: https://www.unr.edu/arboretum/news
The Provincial Council of Bizkaia has just announced a major new find of possibly 14,000-year-old rock engravings in Lekeitio. Remarkably, these engravings, which total about 50 in all, have been discovered within the town of Lekeitio itself, approximately 165 feet deep into the Armintxe cave well-known to local residents. The discovery was made in May this year by the ADES speleology team from Gernika and the Agiri archaeological association from Kortezubi, and follows another major find this year in the Atxurra caves near Berriatua, Bizkaia, which we covered in an earlier post here.
These images depict, among other things, 18 horses, 5 goats, and 2 bison. Aside from the striking clarity of the representations the find is also significant in that the engravings also include 2 lions – a completely new feature of paleolithic art discovered to date in the Cantabrian region. Alongside the animals there are also semicircles and lines making up calviform or club-shaped features, the first example of this type found within the Iberian Peninsula itself and more reminiscent of shapes found in the world famous caves of the Pyrenees.
The engravings are of an exceptional quality and experts speculate they were made using a novel technique of carving by means of dragging the carving instrument along the rock and hoisting up at the last moment to create a groove in the surface, creating a kind of scaling effect. There is still some doubt as to their exact age, with suggestions dating the find somewhere between 12,000 and 14,500 years. But whatever the case, this would appear to be a significant discovery. Check out the video below highlighting this amazing discovery!
Check out more on the story here.