TRADITIONAL CULTURE - Euskadi

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TRADITIONAL CULTURE - Euskadi

TRADITIONAL CULTURE

The Basque Country is the past, the present and the future. Tradition and avantgarde.

The diversity of this land, the importance of its roots and the will to progress

of the local population, have given shape to a society in which traditional ways of

life and customs rub shoulders with the latest in modern artistic, cultural and

architectural expressions.

The unique orography of the Basque country, characterised by valleys with difficult access, has

permitted the conservation of a strong popular culture, bursting with myths and legends,

customs, rites and folklore, and enabled the preservation of the language of the Basque people,

Euskera, the origins of which are unknown.

Today these traditions are remembered at the fiestas celebrated throughout the year. In autumn,

winter, spring or summer, the capitals and villages of the Basque Country throw themselves into

their festivities heart and soul. Religious or pagan, these events bring the locals together in

multitudes, adding spice to the calendar while commemorating historic facts and honouring

their saints and patron saints.

One picturesque expression of Basque tradition are the rural sports,

reflection of the everyday chores of the ancient Basques.

The harrijasotzailes (stone-lifters), segalaris (grass-cutters),

or aizkolaris (woodcutters) emulate the work done by the

inhabitants of the baserri (farmhouse). Basque pelota or

the fixed-thwart rowing boat competitions, the most popular

traditional Basque sports, thrill lovers of these events and move a fortune in bets.

Although the Basque Country has preserved the wealth of its folklore down through

the ages, it has also succeeded in complementing its customs and traditions with the

strong culture of innovation present in the actions that now mark the future of the

Basque people. The Basque Country means avant-garde, a factor especially reflected in

1 st Edition: April 2002.

8 th Edition: November 2007

Published by:

Eusko Jaurlaritzaren Argitalpen Zerbitzu Nagusia

Servicio Central de Publicaciones del Gobierno Vasco

Designed and Produced by: ACC Comunicación

Texts written by: Kultur Web, Idazti

Translations by: Bitez, S.L.

Photographs by: Javier Carballo, Javier Juanes, Agustín

Sagasti, Emilio Javier Dueñas, Lurrak.

Printed by: Gráficas Santamaría, S.A.

D.L.: VI-542/07

© Administration of the Autonomous Community of the Basque

Country, Department of Industry, Commerce and Tourism.

Data updated to September 2007

The partial and/or total reproduction of the text, maps or

pictures included in this guide without the prior authorization

of this Department, and of its authors, is prohibited.

6

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MYTHS AND

TRADITIONAL

FIESTAS

LEGENDS

DANCES AND

• Winter fiestas

MUSIC

EUSKARA

• Easter and

springtime

• Summer

fiestas

4 8


AND AVANT-GARDE

its art and culture. The impressive Guggenheim never fails

to amaze, even after several visits. The Bilbao Museum of Fine and

Modern Art boasts one of the biggest painting collections in Spain. The Basque Museum of

Contemporary Art-Artium Museum of Alava exhibits a selection of one

of today's most complete, unique and dynamic collections of contemporary

Spanish art. Chillida-Leku takes a novel look at the integration of art with

nature and the human being, and the San Sebastian Aquarium houses

an oceanarium wich is the only one of its kind in Europe. The Kursaal

and Euskalduna Conference Centres, home of numerous fairs and events,

are exponents of this architectural innovation, and contribute to taking

the name of this land all over the world.

But it’s not only these singular constructions figuring among the most important in world

architecture that reflect the ground-breaking spirit of the Basques. This land’s desire for innovation

is also present in the technology parks with their state-of-the-art companies. And in each of

the works of art to be found both in and outside of the different Basque museums. The streets

and parks sport unique creations including the Peine del Viento in Donostia-San Sebastián, the

Plaza de los Fueros in Vitoria-Gasteiz, or the Parque de los Pueblos de Europa in Gernika. Chillida,

Oteiza, Ibarrola or Basterretxea have enhanced the wealth of the Basque territory with their

marvellous works. It is not, however, only these famous names who place the Basque Country

at the forefront, but all of those who dedicate their creative spirit to bettering this land.

And that’s why the Basque Country is yesterday, today

and, above all tomorrow. Faithful to its traditions, the

Basque Country, open to Europe and to the world, strides

towards the future marking out its destination with

every step. That’s the Basque Country, a land of contrast

and integration, of tradition and avant-garde.

14 16 20 26 28

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RURAL SPORTS

21 st CENTURY

CATHEDRALS

MUSEUMS

THE MOST

INTERESTING

TRADITIONAL

FIESTAS AND

FESTIVALS

ADDITIONAL

INFORMATION

TOURIST

INFORMATION

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