Traditions in the 21st

Dance is a defining trait in any society, including ours. This land has a wealth of dances that are usually performed at festivals and religious ceremonies. The aurresku is one of these dances. It is an honour dance now performed at weddings and conferences. The ezpatadantza, or sword dance, is another notable one. It is danced to commemorate or pay homage. Dances that will never be left out of any worthy traditional pilgrimage include the jota and the arin-arin.

Sound of identity

A variety of traditional instruments play a part in Basque identity. They are played at traditional pilgrimages, fairs, rural festivals and some are even part of religious music. The most popular include the txistu (a kind of recorder) with four holes, or the txirula; another wind instrument is the trikitixa (a kind of accordion), the dultzaina, the bagpipes and the alboka (made of steer horns). The txalaparta is a percussion instrument that may have originated as a means of communication or way to produce cider with the vertical movement of the makilas (mallets).

With true passion

People show love to show their enthusiasm in the towns of Bizkaia, but the way they do so in Balmaseda and Durango is particularly noteworthy

It appears to be in the last decade of the 19th century when there was a live reenactment of the Passion of Jesus in Balmaseda, but it wasn't until 1963 when they staged the Crucifixion. In the so-called Stations of the Cross of Balmaseda more than 500 locals lead this unique celebration out of tradition, commitment and religious motivation, portraying every year the most dramatic moments of Jesus's life with great authenticity.

The Passion of Durango differs from others in that it is the only one lasting three days and takes place on a single stage. It began in the 17th century and around 150 people participate in it.

DURANGOKO AZOKA Basque fair culture

The Durango Basque Book and Record Fair is a contest held every year in this town in Bizkaia in the first week of December, during the Spanish Constitution bank holiday. It is considered the most important showcase of Basque culture as it is the perfect place to see the works of Basque publishing houses and record labels. The competition has historically been much more than a book and record fair as it has always been a meeting point for Basque people and anyone interested in Basque culture.

Over the course of the fair, thousands of people come out and enjoy a great festive atmosphere. It is surely the best way to see live performances, learn traditional dances and fill the streets of this town.

The PRIDE of our own

Bilbao Basque Fest

Holy Week processions coexist with Bilbao’s cultural, sports and culinary life. They are held with BIlbao Basque Fest, a festival combining tradition and modernity around five pillars: culture, music, market, sport and gourmet food brought together with a “lauburu”, the most characteristic symbol of Basque culture. Art, dance and street theatre, children’s activities, handicraft fairs, concerts, Basque design shows and exhibitions of traditional sports are just some of the activities you can enjoy.