Tag: 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

 

webworkBasquesinUS

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)

17012011_81841_garaizabal

Bill Douglass Honored at Lehendakari Reception for Basques in the United States

Photo Jul 31, 12 18 12 PM

A film captured some treasured moments of BIll’s career.

Photo Jul 31, 12 14 19 PM

The room was packed for the presentation and reception. All photos and video by Kerri Lesh.

We were so proud and honored to celebrate with our founder and professor emeritus Bill Douglass as he was honored in a very touching way at the reception presented for Basques in the United States at the Boise Centre Convention Center on the Friday before Jaialdi kicked off. We well know the contributions that Bill Douglass has made to Basque culture but it was still a great moment to see him honored. (And if you’d like to learn more, read his entertaining biography, William A. Douglass: Mr. Basque by Miel Elustondo.)

The award was presented by the Minister of Culture of the Basque Government, Christina Uriarte Toledo. Here is a short video from the presentation!

Basques in the United States Makes a Splash at Jaialdi

Photo Jul 31, 11 48 10 AM

Basque books editor Daniel Montero in the calm before the storm of presenting the book

It was such a pleasure to launch the Basques in the United States: A Biographical Encyclopedia of First-Generation Basque Immigrants, our 2-volume work listing nearly 10,000 first-generation immigrants from the Basque Country to the United States. It was so much fun to present this work to the public and to see the great reactions, especially from families who recognized someone on the cover. This type of historical research on the diaspora is so interesting and will have a lot to tell those everything from immigration patterns to the individual story of that person in the reader’s family who first made the trek across the Atlantic to our shores. I want to congratulate and thank everyone who worked on this for their tremendous time and effort, especially Koldo San Sebastian, without whom it never would have taken off, Argitxu Camus-Etxekopar who provided valuable assistance and how is generously volunteering her time to help us better this, and the translator, Joxe Mallea-Olaetxe.

And I want to take this time to honor those Basques, among whom I count my grandmother and grandfather, who ventured over the sea and who worked tirelessly to make a better life for themselves and for their families. It is their stories that we seek to tell here and it gives me goosebumps everytime I consider the work that we (and many others, in many different ways) are doing to preserve their memory.

But we need your help! We’ve set up a website basquesintheus.blogs.unr.edu to help collect even more information. So please help us make this the most complete biographical collection it can be!

Photo Jul 31, 1 22 08 PM

Center graduate student Kerri Less helps present the books at the Lehendakari’s reception in the Boise Centre

Readers interested in a fictional account of one woman’s immigration experience (and much more) should pick up Zelestina Urza in Outer Space, by David Romtvedt . My Mama Marie is the recollection of a daughter about her mother’s experience (and her own). For more academic studies of immigration patterns, we’d like to highlight among our extensive list the contributions by Pedro Oiarzabal, Gardeners of Identity: The Basques of the San Francisco Bay Region, and The Basque Diaspora Webscape.

Photo Aug 01, 9 07 01 AM

A brief bio of Luciana Aboitz Garatea that was presented in the Jaialdi vendor space. She is in the book and her immigration photo is among those on the cover.

Photo Aug 01, 11 09 01 AM

Mila esker to everyone who showed so much interest in this project!

And finally, thanks to everyone who stopped by at Jaialdi and took an interest in this project, it’s for you in the end!

National Geographic recommends Jaialdi

basque

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!

Ongi etorri Jaialdi 2015

jaialdiJaialdi 2015 in Boise, Idaho!

As the spring semester has ended, summer presents new opportunities to become acquainted with Basque culture.  As someone who is not of Basque decent, I intend to make-up for my lack of “Basqueness” by attending one of the biggest celebrations of Basque culture in the United States – and apparently it only happens every 5 years!  What luck it will be celebrated during my first year of studying at the University of Nevada’s Center for Basque Studies.  There will be international performers as well as those state-side.

Jaialdi started back in 1987 as a way to promote and sustain Basque culture in the United States and abroad; nearly 30 years later, it’s one of the largest Basque festivals anywhere in the world. You’ll be able to watch traditional sports and dancing, dance to Basque music, and — of course — eat and drink with the best of ’em. Check out the schedule to start planning your Jaialdi experience.

http://www.jaialdi.com/

Hope to see you all there!