Category: Jaialdi

July 31, 1556: Death of Saint Ignatius of Loiola

It remains one of the key dates in the Basque calendar, July 31, the day Saint Ignatius of Loiola died in Rome as  a result of a form of malaria. Born in Azpeitia, Gipuzkoa, in 1491, at age eighteen he entered into the military service of the Duke of Nájera, who would subsequently  become Viceroy of Navarre after its capitulation to Castile in 1512. He demonstrated a keen military sense and became a key aide to the Duke, but was injured seriously at the Battle of Pamplona-Iruñea in 1521, while fighting for the Crown of Castile against a combined Navarrese-French force.

Saint Ignatius of Loiola (1491-1556). Painting by E. Salaberria. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Saint Ignatius of Loiola (1491-1556). Painting by E. Salaberria. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Sent home to the family seat in Gipuzkoa, and his military career over, he went through an arduous recovery process, during which time he went through a famous spiritual conversion, formulating a method of meditation he termed the “spiritual exercises.” Once he had recovered sufficiently to walk, he undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, practising a strict form of asceticism along the way. On his return to Europe he began preaching in public, and eventually settling in Paris to continue his theological studies.

When Peter Faber and Francis Xavier (another Basque) founded the Society of Jesus in 1539, Loiola was chosen to be the order’s first Superior General. He subsequently helped establish the Jesuits as a dynamic order, organizing missions and creating a strong, disciplined centralized organization.

Loiola was beatified in 1609 and canonized in 1622. His feast day, July 31, is celebrated in both Gipuzkoa and Bizkaia, as well as being an important date for Basque Americans in Idaho. Indeed, next year’s celebration will coincide with Jaialdi, held every five years in Boise.

Today, the Sanctuary of Loiola is an important site in the Basque Country, and of course several important educational institutions bear his name in the US as does the town of St. Ignace in Michigan.

Making Connections with Basques in the United States

Jaialdi has come and gone, but what a great experience it was for a first year Basque Studies graduate student.  Not only did I get to reminisce while sipping Kalimotxo about the days in undergrad, and listen to a live band in Euskera, but I also was able to help sell Basques in the United States. Basques in the United States is a collaborative project that has taken years to compile. Thousands of Basque immigrants names are listed, along with intricate details about their lives.

I started selling the book as part of working for publications in the Center for Basque Studies this summer.  However, as people gathered for the lehendakari to speak in Boise, and at a Basque festival in Gardnerville, I was able to better see  the fruits of this labor. This on-going project to gather information about the immigrants who made it across the Atlantic to start new lives came with great surprises.

Below on the left, this woman recognized her relatives found on the front cover of one of the books.  On the bottom right, another woman and her dad do the same and allowed me to take a picture of the tattoo on her wrist.  The tattoo is the exact same signature that is imprinted on the immigration document that is shown on the hanging poster.

I watched other family members eagerly searching for their past throughout these volumes, giving a bit more life to the history, struggle and transition of their ancestors and their heritage.  It was almost as if some of them had found buried treasure-something they had heard about but never seen in real life…Definitely one of the great opportunities I had the pleasure of partaking in over the summer.

If you would like a copy, or have one and would like to help us update information in the books, please contact the Center for Basque Studies online by visiting:

http://basquebooks.myshopify.com/products/basques-in-the-united-states-volume-1-araba-bizkaia-gipuzkoa-basques-in-the-united-states-volume-2-iparralde-and-nafarroa  (to obtain a copy of the books)

https://basquesintheus.blogs.unr.edu/ (to update information about immigrants/entries)

 

 

Descendants of women on front cover

Descendants of women on front cover

 

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Descendant matching her tattoo of her ancestor’s signature to the one on poster

 

 

 

 

Talking Txakoli, with sommelier Mikel Garaizabal

What are the chances that Jaialdi-one of the largest Basque festivals in the world and celebrated only once every five years-would take place the summer after I start my studies at the CBS in Reno?!

Thanks to a couple of acquaintances and friends of friends, I was able to get in touch with sommelier Mikel Garaizabal at Jaialdi. As someone who has worked in the wine industry and has been studying for the CSW (Certified Specialist of Wine exam) it was quite an honor to meet this man who is also an enologist at Mendraka winery (website in progress) making txakolina, expert in working with Tourism and Hospitality,  and an author of four books, one of my favorites-the award-winning Txakoli de Bizkaia. El Viaje (Txakoli of Bizkaia: The Journey). Mikel graciously made time for our interview despite his busy schedule, and displayed his enthusiasm as he shared his knowledge of wine and travel.  Over the course of the interview, we talked about the history of Txakoli, and a bit about similar wines made in Chile that are remnants of the Basque diaspora.  For more information on Mikel Garaizabal check out his website and video below.

http://www.catarvino.com/ (In Spanish and Euskera)

http://www.catarvino.com/portfolio/partes-de-la-vid/ (In Spanish)

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National Geographic recommends Jaialdi

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June 10. On its Intelligent Travel blog, prestigious magazine National Geographic has just included the 2015 Jaialdi Basque festival as one of five recommended open-air events to attend this summer in America.  In the “Beyond the Guidebook: Where the Locals Go” section, as part of Maryellen Kennedy Duckett’s recommendations to “Get Outside in the U.S.A,” Jaialdi is described as “a multisensory bash celebrating all things Basque.” To see the original post click here.

We’re sure here at the Center that if you’re reading this blog, you probably won’t need any extra encouragement to get out and about, July 28-August 2, at Jaialdi this summer. Just in case, though, bear in mind that even Old World Basques will be heading to Boise to attend the event, as noted in this article by Euskalkultura here, and they want to meet you!