Iurgi de excursion

25 diciembre 2006

Olentzero. Santa Claus Basque Way

In Basque Country we have our own culture, sometimes mixture of Spanish and other European traditions, sometimes just our own. So it is in Christmas. In Spain traditionally Three Wise Men were the ones to provide presents to children in Christmas. Now Santa Claus, that funny invention of Coca Cola as we know nowadays (or is it a urban legend?), is also gaining presence in Spanish homes. Not so much in my hometown, Bilbao, or the whole Basque Country. There we have Olentzero.

A fat charcoal burner who, according to the more Christian version, was the first guy to see the star which announced the comming of Jesus and went down the mountains to tell the good news to everyone.

Every 24th December at 17:00 we used to meet in the middle of the biggest square in our neighbourhood and there it was a humansize figure of Olentzero, sitting in a small platform, with his pipe in his mouth, his coal-black-dirty face and a big sack with presents for all the kids. Then the platform was carried by some guys on their shoulder and we used to walk arround the whole neighbourhood singing Christmas songs. 2-3 hours later we came back to the starting point and it was time to burn the figure, dance arround it and head home for helping our family to set the huge dinner and wait till midnight when "magically" our presents would appear, every year in a different part of the house.

Zorionak eta urte berri on.
Feliz navidad y prospero año nuevo.
Merry Christmas and a happy new year.


  • Kaixo guapo!
    Tuve un pequeño incidente con mi móvil pero hoy sin falta te llamo again... ¿Llegó el Olentzero a HK? En Vitoria se portaron genial, acrecentando mi ya escandaloso fetichismo con los bolsos...Tengo una ligera idea de cuántos tengo, pero empieza ya a asustar, y hoy que mi padre duerme en mi casa de madrid, donde los acumulo en los armarios...tiemblo de la charleta que me va a dar (Un hombre y menos un padre jamás va a entender la necesidad de poseer una preciosidad de piel)
    Divago, como siempre.
    Que me ha gustado que cuentes la historia del Olentzero, pero una discrepancia, aquí no lo quemamos. O yo por lo menos nunca he sido testigo de la cremá!
    En fin, que te mando un beso muy gordo y luego te llamo.
    Ator, ator, mutil etxera....

    By Anonymous Martains, at 29/12/06 6:15 p. m.  

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