Logotipo Olentzero

Ixila eta pentsakorra
potolo eta gainera nola!
Gabonero beti ondoan
hara hemen Olentzero hona!

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Pamplona / Iruña (#907). 24/12/2008. Photo: Daniel Fernandez.

A wooden sun

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Tuesday, 17th of February, 2009

Jesusa Altzugarai, still dressed, went through the cold and enormous house and went down to the kitchen to keep watch of the cooking of the olentzero-enbor* o sukilero*. The dried wood was cooking meekly

The day after Christmas time. The new day. Jesusa covers with ash the burning end of the sukilero in order to prolongate its duration. That way will have enough rests to light them again for Saint Antón and slaughter the animals at the door of the stable.

The good of Luismari had stopped to drag the heavy log to the large kitchen. A very good log indeed. His thoughts restless in the sacred night, plaited into an unexpected relationship: in Basque, its tongue, eguna-day, eguzki-sun and egurra,-log, have the same root. The woman sees clearly that sun and day have the same origine but the log? That’s surprising. Would that have something to do with the fire?

Just before, coming out from church service, the new priest told them that the fat dummy that kids take around in the “puskabiltzea”** of the afternoon was a pagan habit.

A solstice ritual, cult to the sun, has said. Jesusa is been left wondering and thinks is not clear because Olentzero always heralds the birth of Jesus. So the old songs expressed it. A pagan habit? But isn’t Good the creator of the sun? Martín, from the Venta***, tells that Mr Pío, the doctor and writer a bit incredulous, had explained that Olentzero is a very ancient Christian habit that perhaps is a thousand years old and that it does not occur in other valleys of Nafarroa and Gipuzkoa, and that is because at the time, this village depended on the dioceses of Baiona.Many trivial guesses, determines Jesusa. Goes up to the bedroom and in the intimacy of the sacred time, dedicates a special memory to the ones missing -so many already! She lies down thinking that the only real thing is that winter is coming up and that from now on, in order to compensate, the day will be longer. Tonight will be revealed and will be a good thing to be celebrated.

olentzero-enbor* Christmas log-for cooking purposes puskabiltzea** popular collection of food and money for the youngsters Venta*** Big shops located at customs where people from both sides could buy what has less taxes on each side of the Basque Country borders.

17 February 2009

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