As you would expect even Basque Christmas traditions dig deep into their pagan past and the Joaldunak, the pagan protagonists from the festivals we visit on Total Basque Mountain Culture Walking Holidays , appear again with fire and flame. Here, during the winter months, the flint-grey skies linger over the Baztan Valley while the ember-red autumn leaves burn out slowly and silently on the forest floor. Even the mighty autumn winds, which have hunters darting for their guns in October, have run out of breath and are too lazy to scatter the leaves in their wake.
How To Get There
The Story of Olentzero
Wine and vineyard landscape. Euskadi Gastronomika. Pintxos and Txikiteo.
Basque Christmas Traditions in Ituren
Go to content. For an experience wrapped in magic to enjoy with your children, go to Izenaduba Basoa, in Mungia. In this wonderful m2 park lives Olentzero, a character that, announcing the coming of Christmas, to the towns of Euskal Herria to drop off gifts for children. His home, called Landetxo Goikoa, was built in the beginning of the sixteenth century, which makes it the oldest baserri farmhouse in Bizkaia. In the park, you will have the chance to meet other characters from Basque mythology and learn how people lived and worked in the baserris, as well as their customs, traditions and beliefs. On your walk through Izenaduba Basoa, you will not be alone. Different characters and creatures from Basque mythology will come along: galtzagorris, lamias, Mari Domingi, Mari, the lady of Anboto… In a lovely natural setting, you will listen to their tales and legends. In Izenaduba Basoa you will learn about the uses of barns, fire and smoke.
According to Basque traditions Olentzero comes to town late at night on the 24th of December to drop off presents for children. The name Olentzero appears in a number of variations: Onenzaro , Onentzaro , Olentzaro , Ononzaro , Orentzago and others. The earliest records give the name as Onentzaro and the name is most likely composed of two elements, on "good" plus a genitive plural ending and the suffix -zaro which in Basque denotes a season compare words like haurtzaro "childhood" , so "time of the good ones" literally. This suggests a derivation similar to the Spanish nochebuena , but the origin of Onentzaro , corresponding to the old feast of the winter solstice , is older than that of Christmas. Other theories of derivation exist but are not generally accepted: . In parts of Navarre this holiday is called xubilaro or subilaro from subil , the word for a Yule log plus the suffix -zaro. In parts of Lower Navarre the word suklaro is used, a contraction of sekularo.