IN PICS: Bizarre Basque ‘bellringing’ festival

We have just had a wonderful – crazy time in the carnivals of Ituren and Zubieta although the docile sunshine of the day, shining through the coloured streamers of the tunturros (once said to have been the swaddling ribbons taken from babies clothes) set a rather incongruous scene. Usually this day is in the darkness of winter and is associated with rain, storms, wind and snow – and our mountain Mendaur (which oversees the valley) was known for its repetitive lightening strikes and witches covens. The village today is eerily quiet but the Joaldunak will be back to give their blessing at more private village ceremonies at several more dates this year. We will be waiting for them – although new policies are creeping in to protect the authenticity of the ceremonies and people from outside the village are only allowed into some of the Joaldunak banquets in the village hall by personal invitation only. If anyone wants to join us on our home territory a couple of our autumn walking weeks offer a backstage entrance to meet the Joaldunak on the farmsteads of Ituren.

IN PICS: Bizarre Basque ‘bellringing’ festival

The mountain villages of Ituren and Zubieta in Navarra celebrate an ancient Basque tradition with a carnival that involves locals dressing up as fantastical wild beasts and marching through the streets.

More info at the Facebook page of the Pyrenean Experience

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