Discover the culture and heritage of the Basque Country

Basque pelota

The pelota is the name given by the Basques in this traditionally small ball made ​​of a core surrounded by boxwood wool, rubber and leather.

Inherited from the tennis, the ball games are held on three types of play areas:

  • Or outdoors on the many facades of cities and villages of the Basque Country
  • Either in a “left wall” or “Jai Alai”
  • Be covered in a room (the trinquets) where it is possible to use the four walls which increases the possible combinations and gave birth to various specialties.

Force basque

Now become the subject of competitions and festivals, the strength comes from Basque challenges hurled farmers to compare their strength and courage. Of course, the various tests of strength are caused by a Basque farm work:

  • Proof of the holder of milk. it is to travel the greatest distance possible with a metal pot of milk 40 kg in each hand.
  • Sunrise cart.
  • Sunrise of straw bale.
  • Stone lifting
  • Event of the woodcutter (with axes)
  • Sawyer
  • The test of the anvil
  • The famous tug of war

If you get a chance, go see a contest of strength Basque, but do not be fooled by appearances, the strength of character and will play an important role and it is not always the most muscular earning!

The songs and dances in the Basque Country

Basque Country folk song was alive since the Middle Ages. But it is from the nineteenth century that one can see that the directory is enriched. The role of “bertsulari” is essential: these singers improvisers still continue to practice this remarkable art.
Whether historically themed songs, songs of love, out, songs of the sea, even today the popular repertoire continues to enrich themselves.

Basque language

For the Basques, Basque being is to speak Basque:
“euskaldun” means literally “the one with the Basque language”. For most linguists, it is a non-Indo-European language probably older than some dead languages ​​like Latin.
This is an isolated language, for which was found to present no mother tongue nor the language sister. All reconciliations attempted were unsuccessful. Recent research combining linguistics and genetics. They reveal that, contrary to what had been established so far, it would be a very old form of Indo-European language. The mystery remains unsolved.

The Basque is a language versions. The verb forms are quite complex. The originality of this language is more specific to its structure as its vocabulary is a lot of loans to Latin, Spanish and French. To allow its teaching and its dissemination by the media and literary works, the Basque was “unified”. His writing has been standardized and simplified: each letter is now a sound and vice versa.

The current problem of the language is to survive. In the Basque Country (Spain) it is a co-official language alongside Spanish. Northern Basque Country (French), Basque is not recognized as an official language, although slowly, teaching is organized with an immersive system in Basque, the ikastolas. There is also provided bilingual education from kindergarten.

However, we must be aware that at present 26.4% in the Basque Country only people know and use of Euskara. However, for UNESCO, a language is considered endangered when less than 30% of children of a given population and learn the talk.

The texts are from the book Home “Holiday Country, Basque Country” at the initiative of Gites de France.