San Sebastián gets spooky!
Halloween in Spain and in other countries
Halloween is maybe one of the most famous festivals throughout the world, in great part thanks to the cinema. It is celebrated on the night of October 31st, but a month before -mainly in English speaking countries such as USA, Canada, Ireland or the UK -private homes, public buildings and shops are already decorated with pumpkins, spider webs, skeletons, bats...
The predominant colors are orange and black, and depending on the place, different activities are carried out; for example, costume parties, the “trick or treat” or fireside meetings to tell scary stories.
What not everyone knows is the origin of this popular celebration. Some theories argue that its roots are found in certain Celtic traditions that merged with Christian elements.
Halloween would be the abbreviation for All Hallows’ Evening or Noche de Todos los Santos. In Hispanoamerica this celebration is known also as Noche de Brujas.
Witches in Basque Country
Witches have always been very present in the Basque Country folklore. Many witchcraft stories are narrated from the Middle Age; some are legends and others really happened. Among the most famous and documented cases is the one that took place in the Navarre town of Zugarramurdi during the 17th Century. Several witches and wizards were discovered and condemned to die in the bonfire. The cave where they meet to celebrate the coven, their rituals and spells to summon the demon, is today a place of tourist attraction.
This episode has been the subject of many academic investigations and has left its mark in our culture in many different ways. To know more:
>Anthropology: Julio Caro Baroja, anthropologist, historian, linguist and folklorist, was one of the authors that researched the most about the topic. His books Brujería Vasca (1975) and Las brujas y su mundo (2003) are reference works.
>History: Las brujas de Zugarramurdi (2013) a book from the professor of the Basque Country University Mikel Azurmendi.
>Music: the Basque popular songbook collects many of these witches' stories.
>Gastronomy: Akelarre (coven) is the name of the famous cook Pedro Subijana's restaurant. It is located in the San Sebastián Monte Igueldo hillside. It has 3 Michelin stars.
>Cinema: Las brujas de Zugarramurdi (2013). An Álex de la Iglesia film. Akelarre (2020). Winner of 5 Goya Awards.
>Art: El Aquelarre is a painting by Francisco de Goya that evoques the story of the Zugarramurdi witches.
As you can see, the witches' stories, fear or superstitions are part of the Basque popular tradition. ¿Are there similar elements in your culture? Come and let us know. In Lacunza IH we always enrich ourselves with the intercultural meetings in our school.
The horror movie festival in San Sebastián
And to finish, we would like to give you a recommendation. From September 29th to November the 5th, San Sebastián will celebrate la 32ª Semana de Cine Fantástico y de Terror. If you share with us your taste for this genre, you can’t miss this event. In addition to films, there will be concerts and expositions throughout the week. In the official web page: https://www.sansebastianhorrorfestival.eus/2021/ you will find all the information, as well as some curiosities from other Festival editions.