Friday, 13 February 2009

carnaval Basque

Over the last few weeks lots of Luziennes (St Jean de Luz locals) have been running around in traditional costume. Only this morning there were 20 or so youngsters beneath my terrace dancing in a circle and singing merrily to accordian accompaniment. I have asked several friends what it all means. The answer I tend to get is simply that "it's the carnaval". At my Flemenco class today I decided to enquire further.It transpires that 'carnavals' take place throughout February in the many different towns of the Basque country and date back to different customs and legends. Some carnavals relate to the waking of the bear, others to the arrival of gypsy travellers or to eminent sorcerers. All are celebrated through a mixture of song, dance, music, revelry and that most popular of Basque customs, eating.

The carnavals play an important part in keeping alive aspects of culture that remain firmly rooted in the psyche of local people. The largest event takes place next weekend in a wee town called Tolosa across the border in northern Spain some 45 minutes from St Jean de Luz.

Basque of the day:- celebration :: ospatze