traditions – ¡Vámonos! The musings of Lisibo
 

Tag: traditions

Ole Olentzero

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For the last few years, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching a lovely young Spanish lady at one of my schools. She has Basque heritage and last year, when I put on the ‘villancicos’ whilst we carried out our Christmas activities she asked if we could listen to Ole Olentzero. I obliged and the class were fascinated by the costumes and the unfamiliar words.  

This year, today in fact, she asked once more if we could listen to it. I’d forgotten about it to be honest until I started it, but the class recognised it immediately. Here it is:

I decided to do some research and discovered that “Olentzero is a character in the Basque Christmas tradition.  According to Basque traditions Olentzero comes to town late at night on the 24th of December to drop off presents for children.”  There are various explanations of the  origins of the tradition. One has Olentzero as one of jentillak, a mythological race of giants that lived in the Pyrenees. Another suggests that a newborn baby was found in the woods by fairies,  blessed with the name Olentzero as well as kindness and strength and gifted to a childless couple. He grew to be a strong man who was a charcoal burner and made wooden toys that he gifted to children, and is said to have died saving children from a burning house leading to the fairies granting him eternal life.

“Nowadays, Olentzero is depicted as a lovable character, widely attributed to being overweight, having a huge appetite and thirst. He is depicted as a Basque peasant wearing a Basque beret, a farmer’s attire with traditional abarketa shoes and smoking a pipe. Whether he has a beard or not is not yet an established tradition. Sometimes his face is stained with charcoal, as a sign of his trade as a charcoal-burner. On Christmas Eve, groups of people or children carry effigies of Olentzero around on a chair through the streets, singing Olentzero carols and collecting food or sweets. At the end, it is customary in some places to burn the Olentzero.”

You can find out more about how the legend/story has developed here and you find an English translation of the story here. There’s also a short presentation about Christmas in the Basque country on Slideplayer.

Finally I discovered that there’s an old  Basque proverb : Anything, anyone with a name exists if we believe in its/his/her existence.  I think that could apply to many Christmas traditions!

Next year I shall have to remember to play this song as N is moving to Australia next week; perhaps we’ll have to Skype her! I wish her well.

Merry Christmas! ¡Feliz Navidad! Eguberri On!

Christmas in Mexico

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My ‘angelito’ from Chignahuapan, home of the glass ‘esferas’ that hang on ‘arboles’ around Mexico.

Want to know about Christmas in Mexico?

Here are some useful links:

Why Christmas? offers a simple description including key events.

Read this article to find out about Christmas in Mexico, including the unique Noche de los rabanos in Oaxaca.

Find out about Christmas in Mexico here and then ‘turn the page’ to compare it with the celebrations in Spain. In which ways are they different?

Mexican Christmas recipes anyone?

And here’s a cute video with some facts and singing!

This article explains the importance of the poinsettia to Aztecs who called it cuetlaxochitl which means “mortal flower that perishes and withers like all that is pure.”

Here’s a story about The Legend of the Poinsettia:

https://youtu.be/pp8TSgpTSUI

And another story, this time about Las Posadas.

This site has links to lots of articles if you want to explore more, but I’ll leave you with a couple of Mexican Christmas songs.

The song that is sung during posadas:

A short radio programme with some suggestions of carols from the childhood of Betto Arcos en Veracruz, including  Los peces en el río

And how could I not include Feliz Navidad?

 

Christmas in Spain

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Loving this short summary of key events over the Christmas/New Year season in Spain!

Christmas in Spain in 30 seconds

Xmas in Spain12 grapes, coal and red underwear? Watch this video to understand Christmas in Spain in 30 seconds! 😉 #XmasInSpain ⛄

Posted by Spain.info on Thursday, 17 December 2015

Some other related posts:

El pequeño petirrojo 2.0

Los Reyes Magos

A few years ago I posted a different Christmas carol in Spanish in the run up to Christmas – the 10th day was Fum Fum Fum and you can go back through the previous 9 days from there.

A lovely retelling of the Christmas story in Spanish and in video form too

A bit of Bublé singing Feliz Navidad or a version on iPods/iPads/iPhones

The story (in Spanish) of how Father Christmas thought about moving Christmas to July

Día de Muertos

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“Watch this beautifully animated, and heart felt, short film about a little girl who visits the land of the dead, where she learns the true meaning of the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos (sic).” Student Academy Award Gold Medal winner, 2013!!

You can download the colour by numbers ‘calavera’  below (completed version on right) from this post on Spanish Playground  There are also links to a number of online ‘rompecabezas’ related to the festival – you have to move the pieces to make the complete picture.Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 13.35.56

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Other helpful links
How to build a Día de Muertos altar (photos)

National Geographic talks about the festival in images and simple captions

Here are some images to colour

How to make sugar skulls

And this website has lots of information and activities for Día de Muertos including how to make sugar skulls (calaveras)

One of the Links into Languages Linked UP projects took Día de Muertos as its theme – the resources are brilliant but you’d need to start several weeks prior to the event to cover it all!

And finally, AZCentral has this PDF of resources that is freely downloadable.

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y las uvas..
As the clock in the Puerta del Sol in Madrid strikes midnight, people across Spain will be attemptig to eat 12 grapes before the ‘bongs’ finish.

As OrangePolkaDot tells us, the supermarkets sell special packs of twelve grapes to help you suceed!
Why? This blog post suggests that it is may have been due to a good grape harvest in 1909 (as does this post) or perhaps the converse.

Y en español aquí y aquí

Whatever, my advice is – make sure you have seedless, small grapes as you’ll never make it otherwise! The first New Years Eve I spent at my in-laws was hilarious thanks to my mother in law buying grapes so that I could ‘do my grape thing’ but choosing big fat seeded ones! That was a fun experience – good job I have a big mouth ;o)

Here’s a clip of a family celebrating ‘los doce uvas de la suerte’ (note the Mum doesn’t quite manage the feat!)

I also like the other tradition that OrangePolkaDot highlights – wearing red undies.  Sounds like a fun idea to me – but how ill anyone know if you’re ‘celebrating’?  Unless Desigual are having another promotion…

"Pouchy"

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