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The Creative Basque People of France and Spain

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The Basque Country is a region covering southwest France and northwest Spain that the locals call Euskal Herria, or “Basque speaker.” It is believed that the Basques are descendants of Neolithic farmers who became separated from other European communities due to their geographical isolation. Their land features mountainous terrain, rocky landscapes, coastal lookouts and an abundance of beauty! Their combination of biological and linguistic uniqueness have led many scholars to conclude that the Basques are Europe’s “oldest race.” Creativity can be seen throughout Basque culture, lifestyle, art and recreational activities. Traditional dances are generally performed during festivals in honor of patron saints as a sign of respect and unity of the Basque people. One of the popular dances, the “aurresku,” or the “soka-dantza,” is known as the rope dance. It’s commonly danced as a greeting or to show neighborly camaraderie between villages. One of the art forms that brings much joy to modern Basques is the improvisational poetic art of bertsolaritza. In bertsolaritza, the singer, or bertsolari improvises verses spontaneously and sings with accompanied music for weddings, village festivals, and community get-togethers. Some say the bertsolari are the ultimate authorities on the Basque language as they know its fine nuances very well and truly understand the Basque soul and mind. The Basque Country today is a thriving tourist destination, especially celebrated for its beautiful countryside, green meadows, coastal walks, surfing destinations, villages and ocean lookouts. We leave you now with a beautiful Basque proverb, “God is a busy worker but loves to be helped.” We pray that the Basque Country will always preserve its environmental beauty and charm for generations to come.
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