Category Archives: Traditional parties

Report: Christmas around the world

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The city’s and villages are decorated with lights, stars, pine trees and fake snow. It is (almost) Christmas. At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ generally it is celebrated on the 25th of December. But now a days it’s also very normal to eat large meals with family or have gifts.


America and Britain

The most famous way to celebrate Christmas is the English or American way. In their homes they have a big Christmas three that is decorated and sometimes people hang lights on their homes. The Americans and Britain celebrate Christmas with the family and some people go to church on Christmas Eve. They often celebrate Christmas Eve also with a special Christmas dinner “turkey and Christmas pudding”, a Christmas pudding is a pudding in large part from raisins is further plays Santa a big role.


Santa

Someone who plays a big role in celebrating Christmas in English and American country’s is Santa Claus. He bring gifts to the homes of the good children during the late evening and overnight hours on December 24: Christmas Eve. Santa was founded from the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas, which may have part of its personality in tales about the historical figure of gift giver Saint Nicholas.

Dutch Sinterklaas

In Holland Christmas isn’t celebrated that big. On the 5th of December the Dutch people celebrate Sinterklaas, the figure who is the founder of Santa. On the night of December people are together with family, drink hot chocolate milk and sing special Sinterklaas songs. Then with a lot of pounding on the door Sinterklaas and het Zwarte Pieten (Black Pete’s) are coming. Sometimes they just leave presents in a big bag in front of the door or in the house, but they can come and visit you. The ask you if you are nice and they will check it in the big book of Sinterklaas.

Christmas in Holland is eating with the family or going to church. But a lot of family’s have a Christmas three in their homes and it becomes more usual to also have gifts. The Dutch celebrate two days of Christmas, witch are also free days for the hole country, on the 24th and 25th of December.

Basque Olentzero

In the Basque Country they don’t have Santa but Olentzero. According to Basque traditions Olentzero comes to town late at night on the 24th of December to drop off presents for children.

One story’s about Olentzero is being one of the jentillak, a mythological race of Basque giants living in the Pyrenees. Legend has it that they observed a glowing cloud in the sky one day. None of them could look at this bright cloud except for a very old, nearly blind man. When asked to examine it, he confirmed their fears and told them that it was a sign that Jesus will be born soon. According to some stories, the old man asked the giants to throw him off a cliff to avoid having to live through Christianisation. Having obliged him, the giants tripped on the way down and died themselves except Olentzero.

Olentzero doesn’t look like Sinterklaas or Santa Clause (who both have red clothes, a white beard, red hat and helpers). Olentzero weirs a txapela ( a typical Basque hat), has a scarf, a black shirt and blue pants and he doesn’t have helpers.

But there is one thing that Sinterklaas, Santa Claus and Olentzero all have in common: they are old men with white beards who give good children presents.

Funny facts

  • The colors red and green are used a lot at Christmas but have a relation with Jesus Christ. Red symbolizes the blood of Jesus, which was shed in his crucifixion, while green symbolizes eternal life, and in particular the evergreen tree, which does not lose its leaves in the winter.

  • Jews don’t celebrate Christmas but have Hanukkah. It is also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.

  • In Mexico, Christmas begins on December 16th. Until December 24 there are the “posadas”. These are processions of children and adults, with statues of Mary and Joseph are carried. It is acted out how Mary and Joseph were looking for a place to stay. On the last day carried the baby Jesus, at the end of the evening is laid in a manger.

  • In Italy, the Christmas witch “La Befana” presents around on Epiphany. She is looking for Jesus Christ and brings good children candy, naughty children get coal or dark candy.

The Food Club in Mondragon

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The Food Club is very unique and interesting place. All of the food clubs are located only in  Mondragon/Arrasate, Basque Country. Anyone can enter in the food club by paying a certain amount of money and every month he or she must do a payment. If you are an owner of the food club you can invite different people there but somebody just from a street can not enter there.

Traditionally, in the food club only men cook. Before women were not even allowed to be there. Nowadays, it has changed but still, men in a kitchen are more important.

Different owners can be gathered under the same roof. They have particular tables and schedule, when they can come, cook and eat with family or friends.

“We eat here almost every week with my family because it is more comfortable and cheaper” – says owner of a food club Lander.

Basque meals

Food club is very suitable place for celebrating different holydays. For example, on Marixtu Kajoi (national holyday in Mondragon/Arrasate) when all restaurants and bars are full with people, this is a best opportunity to do.

For 15 or 20 euro you can have snacks. 1st and 2nd meal, dessert, different drinks, cocktails, vine and other alcoholic drinks.

Basque people prefer to do different sorts of meat with potato but everyone can do what he wants.

“After a dinner we like to drink coffee and smoke a cigar. It is a kind of a special ritual” – explains one of the guests of the food club Dennis.

It is typical to drink on a dessert cocktail which is made from sparkling wine, ice cream and lemon. It refreshes you after a plentiful dinner and gives energy to party longer.

Food clubs are not only places to eat cheaper, but it is also a place to gather with friends, discus disturbing topics and spend time with pleasure. Pictures you can look here.

Pintxo pote at Thursdays

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Oh, I love Thursdays. On that day every week is a party with pintxos called pintxo pote. Pintxos mean snacks. They do it here so tasty that you can eat hundreds of them.  On Thursday everybody who wants can get 1 pintxo and a cup of vine for 1 euro. That’s why everybody goes out and drink till the morning after. Bars in BC are not the same as we are used to.

  • First, nobody sits where
  • Second, you can smoke inside (and not only cigarettes)
  • Third, there are no ash-trays, so the floor is full with cigarette-butts and other stuff
  • Fourth, music plays so laud, like in a club, so you can hardly hear somebody speaking
  • Fifth, you can dance and meet some new people

And the music, here it`s very strange. It is like a heavy rock and sometimes country but everybody are shaking theirs heads all the time and singing. I guess, they like that but I don’t really.

There is no typical clubs in Mondragon, only very similar bars which are closed at 4 in the morning. Only one bar is open till 5, so the whole crowd is going there and you can not breath anymore.

Changing Guipúzcoa for Biscay

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Guipúzcoa, nothing wrong with that. But the Basque Country is more than only one province. Time for some change, time for Biscay! Continue reading

Getting active with pelota

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Hanging out in bars and mingle with the locals has its advantages. Last Saturday night two Basques from Bergara invited Michael and me to play some pelota with them. Continue reading

The Basque way to please Virgin Mary…

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Maritxu.  We already wrote a whole lot of a stuff in advance of this holiest of days. Now it’s finally time (the weekend took it’s toll, writers block you know) to pen the experience, instead of the expectation.  Continue reading

Maritxu Kajoi report

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A nice summer evening temperature, fancy dressed women and a party that most of the foreigners don’t know the existence of. To be honest, I had never heard of Maritxu either. My mistake it seems. Continue reading

Maritxu here I come!

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Tomorrow is a big day for Arrasate and it’s inhabitants. Every first Friday of October the whole town joins in dancing, singing and drinking. Why? It’s Maritxu Kajoi (literally, Little Mary in a box), one of the largest festival in the region. Continue reading

Erasmus = studying, working and partying!

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Today we had our second class of Digital Journalism where we were divided into groups of three to work on a project. We got the assignment to make a comic using pictures we made ourselves.

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Photography and Language (twice)

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I have an assignment for all of you: write a script and storyboard and create a photographic comic strip which should include at least forty pictures, but do this in dialogue with someone from the Basque Country. I dare you. Because that’s our task for our Digital Journalism class. Continue reading