Basque Cultural Day 2017 to center on Mythology and Spirituality


The sister trio Aire Ahizpak

Chloe Arambel, Writer

The 11th Basque Cultural Day will be celebrated on Saturday, Oct. 28 at the San Francisco Basque Cultural Center. This year’s commemoration will center on Basque mythology and spirituality, and feature four presentations relevant to the subject with free admission. After the presentations, there will be a dinner show with the women’s trio Aire Ahizpak. The event is organized by the Basque Educational Organization in collaboration with the Euskal Kultur Erakundea (Basque Cultural Institute).

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Among the presenters for the day is Mia Arostigui at 1 p.m., who will focus on Basque mythological creatures, superstitions, and characters. Begoña Echeverria, an Associate Professor at University of California, Riverside, will discuss her novel “The Hammer of Witches: A Historical Novel.” The book is about two connected characters who fall under suspicion during the witch hunt of 1610.

At 3:15 p.m., Miren Asumendi will exhibit Laminak, a Basque mythological character. Later on, “The Mill House Speaks: Seven Pathways to Our Ancestral Basque Homeland,” will be presented by the author Denise Orpustan-Love at 4:15 p.m. This book is both a folkloric memoir and traditional storytelling.

Following the four presentations of this year’s Basque Cultural Day, there will be a six-course dinner, a performance from the Ardi Baltza dancers from the Elko area and then Basque folk singing from the trio Aire Ahizpak at 7 p.m. The sisters, from Urepel, grew up surrounded by musically-inclined family members, such as their father and grandfather Xalbador. Their album Bidexka features 13 songs, both traditional and new songs.

Denise Arpustan-Love

Begoña Echeverria
Miren Asumendi

Mia Arostigui






The Basque Educational Organization has hosted these days every other year but with a different theme and set of presenters each time.

Two years ago, the theme concentrated on Basque pilota. Xavier Berrueta, president of the U.S. Federation of Pilota, discussed the origins and history of pilota. Iker Saitua centralized on the impact of the sport on Basque culture and identity. The presentations ended with Jean Michel Idiart, creator and promoter of the Frontball Pro Tour. He presented the discipline, history, and potential impact of Basque Pilota. These were followed by a women and men’s exhibition of Frontball.

In 2013, the focus was on certain themes from a documentary film called “Gazta Zati Bat,” meaning “A Peace of Cheese.” Maria Barinaga displayed her award winning Basque cheese-making process. Dr. Lisa Corcostegui talked about Basque, Scottish, and Irish dance. Lastly, Dr. Irujo expressed self-determination and its meaning in modern-day Europe. The three presentations were followed by a performance from Zazpiak Bat Basque Dancers, Scottish Highland Dancers, and Irish Step Dancers.

The dinner will cost $50 per person, which comes with a complimentary raffle ticket to win prizes. The cost for children under 12 is $15. Pre-paid reservation can be made by mailing a check to BEO, P.O. Box 31861, San Francisco, CA 94131-0861 by Oct. 21st.

For any questions about this year’s Basque Cultural Day, contact Nicole Sorhondo at (415)285-0748 or email her at

The Basque Cultural Center is located at 599 Railroad Ave. in South San Francisco.

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