Traditions – standing the test of time

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.


Traditions are what we inherit from the past and what we consider our heritage. This is how Aitzpea Leizaola defines them in her book titled ‘Traditions’, one of the twelve-book collection dedicated to expressions of Basque culture. Promoted by the Etxepare Basque Institute, the collection was first published eight years ago and is now being re-issued.

Tradition has played and continues to play a significant role in the collective Basque imaginary, whether formed in the Basque Country or abroad. Traditions have long been represented as practices, celebrations, rituals, and other social phenomena that have been passed down through the years from generation to generation. “It couldn’t be any other way.  After all, it’s the  collective dimension that keeps them alive,” explains Leizaola.

The author delves into the multiple facets of different traditions, starting with the farmhouse, a key institution in the traditional Basque world and the subject of study by folklorists and anthropologists. She then goes on to discuss the importance of neighbours and communal neighbourhood work as a support system; the sybolic value of town halls, churches, ball courts and town squares; the azokak, or markets where rural and urban areas converge; traditional sports rooted in Basque history; social relations in the public space, based mainly on cuadrillas, or groups of close-knit friends, and sociedades, or social clubs, among others; and a lively and thriving calendar of festivities. Leizaola also looks at traditions that have taken other paths, those which are rooted in the collective memory as witnesses to the past.

Basque Culture Collection

The origin of this book dates back to 2012 when Etxepare Euskal Institutua published the twelve monographic books on Basque culture that make up the collection with the aim of providing up-to-date, attractive and, at the same time, solid information on Basque creation, presented in a accessible to those who want to know.

The titles and authors of the books were as follows: ´Brief history of the Basque language´, written by Ivan Igartua and Xabier Zabaltza; ´Basque Literature of the 20th Century´, by Estibalitz Ezkerra; ´Basque classical music´, by Carlos Sánchez Ekiza; ´The Basque song: pop, rock, folk´, written by Jon Eskisabel; ´Collection of prints´, dedicated to the visual arts and written by Miren Jaio; ´Basque cinema´, by Joxean Fernandez; ´Architecture and Design´ by Peio Aguirre; ´Basque dance´, by Oier Araolaza; ´Bertsolaritza´, by Joxerra Garzia; ´Traditions´, by Joseba Zulaika; and ´On Basque cuisine´, by Hasier Etxeberria.

Throughout 2021, most of the books in the collection have been reissued in three bilingual formats: Basque and Spanish, Basque and English, and Basque and French. All of them are available for free in digital format.

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