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LAPURDIko INAUTERIA:  Carnival of Lapurdi

Lapurdi, one of the seven historical Basque provinces that make up Euskal Herria, Euskadi, or the Basque country, lies today in what is France.  There is no present Basque nation-state:  centuries ago the French and Spanish divided the Basque's homeland--Euskal Herria--between them.  These people call themselves Euskaldunak--literally those who speak Euskara or the Basque language--and they are western Europe's oldest residents.  

Long before the ancestors of their present French and Spanish neighbors arrived in this part of Europe, the Basques were there to greet them.  They are distinguished by their unique language--Euskara--the only non-Indo European language in western Europe.  Scholars have yet to adequately link this language with any other language in the world.  The Euskaldunak remain Europe's mystery people because it is yet uncertain from where and when these people and their language originated.

Over the centuries in their high mountain Pyreneean homeland, a geographically small area that is not more than 100 miles in length or width, the Basques created a rich and varied folklore.  The following dances from Lapurdi are only a few of literally hundreds of folk dances.  They are part of the traditional carnival celebrations that span the Basque region.  Researchers suggest that these carnival celebrations were a ritual, performed annually, to end the dead, cold months of winter and bring forth the renewal of life in springtime.  In this case of the Lapurdi makil (stick) dances, the striking of sticks was a symbolic gesture to awaken the soil from its winter slumber.

The costumes of the principal performers, the kaskarotak, are varied and colorful.  They wear white shirts and pants adorned with bells and laces of burgundy, blue, green and purple.  They derive their name from the Basque word for hat--kaska--which they wear atop their head. 

In addition, there are several other characters that take part in the procession.  They include:  the banderari, a black clothed flag bearer; the kotillun-gorriak, colorful characters dressed in red skirts, jackets of white wool, and hats adorned with laces to which is attached a red cloth that hides the face; the ponpierak, figures dressed in jester-like costumes of red and blue, also with a decorated hat and a fed face cover; the besta-gorri, characters dressed in white trousers, red jackets, and blue colored hats and again a red mask; and finally the jaun-anderia, the lord and his lady, as in other masquerades, the representatives of authority.  These characters, dances, and the carnival procession remained popular until the early 1900s, but by the middle of this century they were disappearing.  Fortunately several groups set about to preserve these unique expressions of folklore.  Following are only a few of the dances from the Lapurdi carnival celebration.


Lapurdi emblem (L) and where it lies in the Basque Country


Kalejira (entrance)


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Video: Kalejira (mpg)

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Marmotx


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Zapatain dantza



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Zapatagin
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Video: Zapatain (mpg)

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Makil 1


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Video: Makil 1 (mpg)

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Makil 2


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Video: Makil 2 (mpg)

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Fandangoa & Arin-arin (Lapurdi)


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Fandangoa (mpg)
Arin-arin (mpg)

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Dantza luze (exit)


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Dantza luze (mpg)

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Kattalin gorri